WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden laid out his his $1.9 trillion Covid relief package in a primetime speech on Thursday night, detailing his agenda to control the deadly pandemic.
Biden’s relief package includes $1,400 stimulus checks for eligible Americans, $416 billion to launch a national vaccination program to fulfill his goal of vaccinating 50 million Americans and reopening schools in the first 100 days of his administration.
“Tonight, I lay out my first step, the American Rescue Plan that will tackle the pandemic and get direct financial assistance and relief to Americans who need it the most,” Biden said.
The President-elect’s plan helps out struggling Americans, giving them $1,400 direct payments, which includes an extra $400 per week for unemployed and affected workers. Biden is also expected to ask Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour to help frontline workers battling the pandemic.
Last month the Trump administration sent out a one-time payment of $600 as part of the nearly $900 billion Covid-19 relief package President Donald Trump signed into law
Billions of dollars will be sent out to help struggling small businesses, low-income families facing homelessness, paid family leave affordable child care access, and improving access to federal nutrition programs for children and families.
“It’s not hard to see that we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis. A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.”
Biden has signaled he wants a Covid-19 relief bill on his desk by the end of January. One possible issue than may arise is the upcoming Senate Impeachment trial for President Donald Trump that is expected to get underway in the next week or so.
The President-elect also acknowledged the price tag is high but said it is necessary to improve the long-term economic damage.
“The return on these investments in jobs, racial equity will prevent long-term economic damage, and the benefits will far surpass the cost,” Biden said. “In this moment of crisis… we cannot afford inaction.”
Biden also highlighted his efforts to rescue Americans from the deadly pandemic and reaffirmed his promise of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.
In his package, Biden is proposing $400 billion for coronavirus management, a trillion dollars of direct coronavirus relief, and $440 billion in aid to communities and businesses.
“From the very first of the nearly 400,000 lost American souls and counting to the millions of you just looking for a fighting chance in this economy, I promise you we will not forget you,” he said.