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Biden urges employers to boost wages but warns workers they’ll lose unemployment pay if they reject jobs

US President Joe Biden speak about the Covid-19 response and the vaccination program in the State Dining Room of the White House on May 4, 2021.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Monday urged U.S. companies to boost pay for workers as he outlined the steps his administration is taking to spur hiring after disappointing job creation in April.

The president said his administration will distribute more of the coronavirus relief funds included in Democrats’ $1.9 trillion aid plan as reopening businesses search for employees.

The federal government will start allowing state and local governments to apply for part of a $350 billion relief pool, push to streamline distribution of aid to child care centers and begin sending grants to 16,000 struggling restaurants and bars, among other efforts.

Biden said the White House does not “see much evidence” that the $300 per week federal unemployment benefit in place until September has deterred people from taking jobs, adding that “Americans want to work.”

Even so, he said, anyone “offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits” unless they have specific concerns related to Covid-19.<