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President Biden speaks to the media on Feb. 23. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

150 top executives from companies like Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Blackstone and United Airlines sent a letter to Congress endorsing President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.

Why it matters: Republicans in Congress have argued that the plan, which has enjoyed bipartisan support in polls, could lead to faster inflation, expand the federal deficit, and discourage Americans from looking for work by providing enhanced unemployment benefits.

What they're saying: "Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery," the executives wrote in a letter obtained by CNN. The letter will reportedly be sent to congressional leaders later today.

  • "Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration's proposed American Rescue Plan."

Read the full list of names.

Go deeper

Feb 23, 2021 - World

Rights groups question Columbia over professor's interview

Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, evaded questions about China's genocide against Uyghurs during an interview last month, a coalition of 18 advocacy and rights groups sent a letter to the university but have received no response.

The big picture: The Chinese government is known to punish people who criticize its abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, leading to an epidemic of self-censorship among those with ties to the country.

Feb 23, 2021 - Health

California to provide $600 stimulus payments to 5.7 million people

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a Feb. 12 news conference in San Francisco. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/Pool/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has pledged to sign into law Tuesday a measure to provide some 5.7 million people with at least $600 in one-off payments as part of a state COVID-19 relief package.

Driving the news: State lawmakers on Monday overwhelmingly voted for the bill, designed to help people on lower incomes through the pandemic.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.