On Thursday (January 14) President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his $1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package.
“The American Rescue Plan” includes $416 billion to get a federally-backed vaccine distribution program. The Biden-Harris administration has a goal to get 100 million people vaccinated and reopen schools within their first 100 days in office.
The plan also includes funds for $1,400 stimulus checks to struggling families and individuals. Biden also called for an additional $400 in weekly payments to workers.
Biden’s plan comes as the US continues to see new daily records in new cases and coronavirus-related deaths.
Biden acknowledged the devastation caused by the pandemic, honoring those who’ve lost their lives to the virus, while offering hope.
Biden echoed the sentiments of many feeling the pain of the pandemic, calling for urgency.
“And there is no time to wait,” he said. “We have to act and act now.”
Biden relayed confidence that his plan will help bring relief to those experiencing poverty, stimulate the economy, and make critical reinvestments in the frontline workers whose dedication has sustained millions throughout this difficult year.
Biden acknowledged the challenge ahead, calling the vaccination rollout one of “the most challenging operational efforts in American history.”
“We will move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” he said.
The plan includes financial help for small businesses, with specific funds being reserved for businesses owned by Black people and other people of color.
Americans can expect rent relief, and Biden called for extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.
Biden plans to lay out the second part of his two-step plan to rebuild the American economy in his February State of the Union address. He’s expected to lay out an infrastructure, job training, clean energy, and manufacturing investment plan to create an estimated 18 million jobs.
“United is not a pie-in-the-sky-dream,” Biden said. “It is a practical step to getting things done.”
With a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, many are hopeful that Biden’s ambitious legislation will pass. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer approved of Biden’s plan in a joint statement released Thursday (January 14).
“The proposals by the Biden-Harris administration will be critical to getting our country through this challenging period and towards a period of recovery,” they said.
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