President-elect Joe Biden unveiled the details of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
On Thursday, Joe Biden unveiled the details of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package designed to support households and businesses through the pandemic while acknowledging the ambition — and the cost — but argued that the bold investments will pay dividends for the nation. With slim majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats may be able to help Biden push this through.
About half of the proposal, titled the American Rescue Plan, provides aid for American households and firms until the vaccine is widely available.
$400 billion will be allocated for fighting the pandemic, including $160 billion for nationwide Covid testing, containment, and vaccination (Biden has a goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days). Another $350 billion will be destined for struggling state and local governments (including $20 billion for tribal governments). Republicans have strongly opposed similar relief measures before.
Breaking down the numbers, per CNBC, Biden calls for the following:
- Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including December’s $600 payments
- Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September
- Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour
- Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September
- $350 billion in state and local government aid
- $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
- $50 billion toward Covid-19 testing
- $20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes
- Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6)
“The crisis of human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said as he unveiled the plan Thursday evening from his transition headquarters in Delaware. “I know what I just described does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly (…) The consensus among leading economists is, we simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing, but we have to act, and we have to act now.”
“No GOP senators voted for Bill Clinton’s first economic plan, and only three did so for Barack Obama’s,” Bloomberg reports.
As of Thursday morning, the virus had killed more than 384,000 Americans, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.