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‘We’re so close’ – Cramer says stimulus is needed to close the gap with widely available Covid vaccines

CNBC’s Jim Cramer urged Congress on Tuesday to quickly pass another coronavirus stimulus bill, saying key parts of the economy need help until Covid-19 vaccines are widely administered .

“We’re so close to getting this economy back on track, but these places that shut down, they can’t flip a switch and reopen. It’s just a way of life. You can’t do it,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the street.”

Cramer’s comments came shortly after legendary investor Warren Buffett implored Washington to expand the paycheck protection program, a key lifeline for small businesses that Congress created at the start of the pandemic. of coronavirus. But the window to apply for P3 loans closed months ago, and other economic stimulus, such as a federal UI supplement, have since run out as well.

“I think the country owes it to the millions of small businesses… just renew the PPP and lead us to the end of the tunnel,” Buffett, president of Berkshire Hathaway, said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”.

However, Congress has been trapped in a stalemate since the summer for further relief even as the pandemic persisted and new waves of trade restrictions were implemented by state and local authorities this fall in an effort to to contain Covid epidemics.

Democratic and Republican congressional leaders hope to pass coronavirus relief and a credit package before government funding runs out on Saturday. A bipartisan group of House members and senators released a $ 908 billion stimulus proposal on Monday that it hopes can serve as a roadmap for action.

“How can the government not agree to finance [businesses] until we get vaccines? Cramer said, a day after the first health workers in the United States received the Covid vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.

“What’s amazing to me is that… Warp Speed ​​really worked. Warp Speed ​​was awesome. It kind of shocked everyone,” Cramer added, referring to the dev program for vaccines from the Trump administration. “And now Congress should be able to say, ‘We love Warp Speed. It’s great, and we’re going to move on to Warp Speed. We are going to put money in people’s pockets. “”

As vaccine availability is expected to increase in the coming months, allowing more Americans to get vaccinated, the host of “Mad Money” referred to restaurants and other small service businesses, in particular, as areas that need help now.

“We are not a country where everyone goes to work in steel mills every day, but we are a country where a lot of people go to work in restaurants and hotels,” said Cramer, which has temporarily closed this fall. his own restaurants in New York. due to the pandemic.

He added, “It’s a huge industry in this country, in this service economy,” where consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of economic activity in the United States.

In January, about 12.3 million Americans were employed in food services and drinking places, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In November, there were 10.2 million people employed in this category.

“I think Congress is acting like, ‘You know what, it’s okay. We can wait a few months,” Cramer said, while stressing the urgency. “It’s not like that.”

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