U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday welcomed data that showed the U.S. economy created the most jobs in 7 months in March, yet he warned the American people that the progress on the economy could be reversed if the coronavirus surges through the country again.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 916,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain since last August.
“We still have a long way to go,” Biden told reporters. “In the face of this great news, I need also to make this clear and direct statement to the American people: progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve can be reversed,” he said.
Biden warned that deaths are still increasing in some states, and infections rising. Several states, including Texas and Florida, have rolled back mask mandates and other COVID-19 protections, even as health officials plead with the U.S. citizens to be more careful.
“Don’t give back the progress we’ve all fought so hard to achieve,” Biden said. “We need to finish this job, we need every American to buckle down and keep their guard up in this home stretch.”
New coronavirus infections in the United States surged 9% to over 431,000 last week, the first time since January that cases have increased for two weeks in a row, according to a Reuters analysis.
Regarding his infrastructure plan, released this week, Biden said he had already spoken to Republicans to try to get support for a bill in Congress. The White House’s $2.3 trillion plan includes investments in rural broadband, veterans hospitals and schools, as well as roads and bridges.
“I think the Republican voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get a lot of this done,” he said.
Reuters/Ipsos polling data released Friday shows the ideas in Biden’s plan are wildly popular with Americans, including raising corporate taxes to pay for it. But Republicans polled said they would not support an infrastructure plan “recently released by the Biden administration.”