Jamie Dimon, Sonia Syngal, other CEOs to meet with President Biden at White House as relief plan advances

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Sonia Syngal, CEO Gap Inc. Photo Facebook Gap Inc

WASHINGTON – JP Morgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and other leadingbusiness executives are expected to meet with President Biden at the White House on Tuesday Feb. 9, 2021, to discuss the administration’s economic relief package, according to two people granted anonymity to share details of the upcoming meeting.

Dimon is expected to be joined by Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart; Sonya Syngal, from GAP; Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s; and Tom Donohue, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the people familiar with the meeting said. The White House’s public schedule says Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with “business leaders” about the relief package in the Oval Office at 1:45 p.m. The White House later included the meeting on its public schedule.

The meeting with the business executives comes as the White House accelerates its push for Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief proposal amid increasing opposition from congressional Republicans. House Democrats released key parts of the legislation on Monday and are expected to approve the bill in a matter of weeks.

The meeting of the business executives also comes amid an intensifying fight over Democrats’ proposal to hike the minimum wage to $15 per hour. McMillon, who is also the chairman of the influential Business Roundtable, said last month that he supports a boost to the minimum wage. Dimon has also previously backed a minimum wage hike.

Still, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also urged lawmakers not to use the “current crisis … as an opportunity to enact long-sought permanent policy changes, like raising the minimum wage.” The Chamber also called existing $1 trillion annual deficits a “real cause for concern.”

The business leaders are expected to bring up the minimum wage proposal at the White House, the two people familiar with the matter said.

The Chamber of Commerce has also said it opposes Biden’s proposal to raise federal unemployment benefits from $300 per week to $400, saying the measure “distorts the labor market and deters individuals from returning to work.”

This is not the first time Biden has met with officials who have criticized elements of his relief plan. Earlier this month, Biden hosted 10 Senate Republicans to discuss the next relief package — although he has appeared to reject their pleas to seek a bipartisan bill.

JP Morgan Chase previously called for another round of pandemic relief for poorer families as well as the renewal of support for unemployed Americans, among other measures.

“Absent additional government stimulus, lower-income households and those who faced job loss may exhaust their accumulated savings buffer and be forced to further cut spending or fall behind on debt or rent payments,” JP Morgan said.

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