President-elect Joe Biden late Thursday announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to address the ongoing CCP virus pandemic in the United States.
“We have no time to waste when it comes to getting this virus under control and building our economy back better,” he announced in a statement. In his address to the nation on Thursday evening, he said that immediate action will prevent long term economic damage, adding that “the benefits will far surpass the costs.”
Biden asserted that more spending early on would reduce the long-term economic damage caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdowns and restrictions.
Biden said his plan involves two steps, “rescue” and “recovery.” He said he will announce his “Build back Better” recovery plan next month to address infrastructure and innovation.
The “American Rescue Plan” includes $1,400 stimulus payment checks that will be added on top of the $600 checks that were issued under the last stimulus. This amounts to some $1 trillion in direct relief. Biden said the $600 provided per person so far is “not enough.”
The legislative proposal also provides about $440 billion for in critical support to struggling communities, including for small businesses, educators, public transport workers, and first responders.
Biden is also calling to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a $15 federal minimum wage would lead to the loss of 1.3 million jobs. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic socialist, has long pushed to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.
The legislative proposal also extends moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions until Sept. 30, and include $25 billion in funding for rental and $5 billion for utility assistance. “If we don’t act now there will be a wave of evictions and foreclosures,” Biden said. “This will provide more than 25 million Americans greater stability instead of living on the edge every single month.”
More than 2 million Americans have contracted the CCP virus and more than 385,000 deaths have been linked to the CCP virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Jobless claims have risen to 965,000, according to the latest figures issued by the Labor Department.
Biden’s proposal increases the supplemental unemployment insurance to $400 a week from $300 a week, and the payments will be extended to September.
The package also includes assistance to fight hunger, including proposing to extend the 15 percent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit increase to September, investing $3 billion in the in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and $1 billion in additional nutrition assistance for U.S. territories.
About $415 billion will be channeled toward health care, including $20 billion to support a national vaccine program, $50 billion to expand testing, investments for workers to conduct vaccine outreach and contact tracing, and funding for states.
Biden’s goal is to administer some 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration. He said it will be the most challenging operation and his administration will “have to move heaven and earth” to achieve this goal.
The legislation proposal calls for $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, and territorial governments to help pay front line public workers, distribute the vaccine and scaling COVID-19 testing, reopen schools, and other services.
Biden is allotting $130 billion toward his goal of reopening schools across the country by the 100th day of his administration. The funds would also go toward supporting remote learning.
Biden is expected to be inaugurated on Jan. 20—the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said they would move quickly to pass legislation.
“After Congress passed the most recent emergency COVID relief bill in December, Democrats were clear that much more needed to be done,” they said in a statement. “We are pleased the Biden-Harris package includes much of what Congressional Democrats have been fighting for, including an increase in direct payments to $2,000 for American families, support for vaccine distribution and testing, additional aid to small businesses, funding to safeguard state and local jobs, extension of unemployment benefits, help for renters and children in poor and middle-class families and more.”
“The very health of our nation is at stake,” Biden said in his address.
The emergency legislation would be paid for with borrowed money, adding to trillions in debt.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.