President-elect Joe Biden unveiled the whopping $ 1.9 trillion on Thursday economic recovery plan for coming out of the coronavirus-fueled economic downturn which he will present to Congress as one of his first acts as Commander-in-Chief.
The bailout, which he calls the US bailout, offers $ 1,400 checks for most Americans, an extension of the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until September, and a national immunization program as than local distribution rates. keep missing.
“The crisis of deep human suffering is in sight. There’s no time to lose. We need to act and we need to act now, ”Biden said in a speech Thursday night in Wilmington, Delaware, in which he called on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to help him pass his ambitious plan.
“That’s what economists tell us. More importantly, this is what the values we hold dear as Americans tell us. A growing number of senior economists agree that at this time of crisis with interest rates at historically low levels, we cannot afford inaction, ”he continued. , touting the massive bailout as a “smart tax investment” in the country’s future.
Despite Biden’s tough sell, Congressional Republicans who vehemently opposed a similar $ 2.2 trillion bailout pushed by House Democrats in October are likely to raise objections to his package, too much.
The bill will be the most urgent bill on Biden’s agenda as he takes office amid a worsening pandemic that has so far killed 386,000 Americans and infected 23 ,2 millions.
It follows a A $ 900 billion bailout Congress passed last month after months of inaction caused by partisanship.
This bill included a weekly unemployment supplement of $ 300, $ 284.4 billion in paycheck protection program repayable loans for small businesses and $ 600 stimulus checks for most Americans.
In his speech, Biden said this package was not enough.
“We will finish the job of securing a total of $ 2,000 in cash for those who need it most. The $ 600 already allocated is simply not enough. You shouldn’t have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table, ”he said.
The balance of power in the Senate will change later this month when two Georgian Democrats take an oath for a 50-50 split with Republicans and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, breaking any tie. But Biden will still need the support of some Republicans to avoid a fence obstruction, which requires a majority of 60 votes.
If his package is to become law, it will likely take a compromise of Biden’s initial grandiose spending plan to win over at least some of the more conservative senators worried about the national debt soaring.
Biden’s $ 1.9 billion plan will address two pressing issues: the country’s faltering economy and overdue vaccine delivery efforts. But it also includes broad liberal promises to “invest in racial justice” and “intergenerational inequalities”.
In particular, the incoming administration did not attach any price tag to these plans.
The plan’s provisions include direct payments of $ 1,400 to eligible Americans, in addition to the $ 600 passed by Congress in December. The Biden administration describes this as a “down payment” that will bring the total relief payments to $ 2,000, which at least one Senate Democrat has balked at.
On Thursday night, Biden acknowledged the high price for his deal and said, “I know what I just described isn’t cheap, but not doing it will cost us dearly.”
Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat who is expected to be a decisive vote, has previously opposed efforts to remove legislative obstruction and said he was against such high checks for all Americans, preferring more payments. targeted on revenues.
“This is not a yes or no question”, the West Virginia lawmaker said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union”. “I’m on board helping the people who need help, the people who really can’t do it, the people who don’t have a job – they can’t put food on the table.”
“Send checks to people who already have a check and won’t be able to spend it or will not spend it and usually put it in their savings account now. It’s not who we are, ”Manchin said. “We have done a lot. “
Biden has also earmarked $ 20 billion for a national immunization program that will include community vaccination centers and mobile vaccination units to inoculate hard-to-reach communities.
Everyone in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, will receive the miracle vaccine for free, according to the plan.
Biden said the current vaccine rollout had been a “dismal failure.” As of Wednesday morning, 30.6 million doses of the wonder drug were distributed nationwide, but only 11.1 million Americans received their first vaccine.
The former veep doubled down on his pledge to deliver 100 million shots in his first 100 days as president, describing it as “one of the most difficult operational efforts we have ever undertaken as a nation.”
The bailout also includes $ 130 billion to help closed schools across the country safely reopen by reducing class sizes, improving ventilation and hiring more janitors. The bailout also includes a push to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15, one of Biden’s campaign pledges.
“People tell me it’s going to be hard to go through. Florida has just passed it. As divided as this state is, they have just passed it! Biden said, slapping his hands on his desk for emphasis.
“The rest of the country is also ready to move. There should be a national minimum wage of $ 15 an hour. No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line, ”he continued.
The bailout also includes $ 130 billion to help the safety of closed schools across the country reopen by reducing class sizes, improving ventilation and hiring more janitors.
The economy is still in a downtrend and last week’s jobs report showed conditions are getting worse.
The United States cut 140,000 jobs in December, while another 965,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week.
However, the first days of Biden’s presidency could be consumed by President Trump’s impeachment trial, which McConnell says could not begin until Wednesday. after Trump’s term ends.
In addition to the maelstrom, many of Biden’s political candidates will have to undergo the Senate confirmation process, which means lawmakers could be pulled in three equally urgent directions.
On Thursday night, Biden warned that even with his recovery plans packed, it would take time for the nation to find its feet and called on the nation to come together after a tumultuous start to 2021 that included the second impeachment of President Trump Wednesday.
“There will be stumbling blocks, but I’ll always be honest with you about the progress we make and the setbacks we face,” Biden said.
“Of all the perils of this moment, I want you to know, I give you my word, I see the promise. I remain so optimistic about America, as optimistic as I have been, ”he said. “Come Wednesday, we are starting a new chapter.”