President Joe Biden hosted business heavyweights on Tuesday in hopes of furthering progress on his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.

“The American people are hurting, a lot of people are in real, real trouble,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting that included JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon; CEO of Gap, Inc., Sonia Syngal; Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s; and the outgoing U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue.

Biden began the meeting, also including Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, with a 15-minute speech. He underscored the importance of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and his commitment to returning jobs lost during the pandemic.

According to a source in a New York Times story, the discussions lasted 90 minutes with main topics including minimum wage, earned-income tax credits and other forms of economic stimulus.

Each of the business executives had an opportunity to speak.

McMillon focused on how Walmart is working toward increasing wages; Syngal stated her position in retail allows a clear vision that women and minorities are being hurt most; Ellison echoed the vital role jobs will play in the recovery and Dimon identified good policy as a key player in healthy economic growth.

Biden stressed that his American Rescue Plan, a package meant to address the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen a damaged American economy, is part of his efforts to work in a bipartisan manner.

Biden will travel to Wisconsin next week and participate in a CNN town hall to talk about his domestic agenda.

“We have kids not in school. We have a whole range of issues, but they are solvable,” he said.

Add comment