Biden Unveils Plan To Pump $1.9 Trillion Into Pandemic-Hit Economy

President-elect Joe Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal on Thursday, saying bold investment was needed to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines to bring the coronavirus under control.

Biden campaigned last year on a promise to take the pandemic more seriously than President Donald Trump, and the package aims to put that pledge into action with an influx of resources for the COVID-19 response and economic recovery.

“A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said in prime-time remarks from Delaware. “We have to act and we have to act now.”

The aid package includes $415 billion to bolster the response to the virus and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, some $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

Stimulus payment checks would be issued for $1,400 – on top of the $600 checks delivered by the last congressional stimulus legislation. Supplemental unemployment insurance would also increase to $400 a week from $300 a week now and would be extended to September.

Biden’s plan is meant to kick off his time in office with a large bill that sets his short-term agenda into motion quickly: helping the economy and getting a handle on a virus that has killed more than 385,000 people in the United States as of Thursday.

It also provides a sharp contrast with Trump, who spent the last months of his administration seeking to undermine Biden’s election victory rather than focusing on additional coronavirus relief. Trump, who leaves office on Wednesday, did support $2,000 payments to Americans, however.

Many Republicans in Congress balked at the price tag for such payments.

Biden will face similar hurdles with his proposals, which come on the heels of a $900 billion aid package Congress passed in December.

But he will be helped by the fact that his fellow Democrats will control both the House and the Senate. Chuck Schumer, who is about to lead a narrow Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Biden’s package was “the right approach” and pledged to begin working on legislation.

The incoming president will seek to pass the legislation even as his predecessor faces an impeachment trial.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Ten of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats to charge him with inciting an insurrection in last week’s deadly rampage at the Capitol.

The impeachment proceedings threaten to hang over the beginning of Biden’s term, and Biden has encouraged lawmakers to handle the trial while also moving forward with his agenda.

PRECARIOUS MOMENT

Transition officials said Biden’s plan will be a rescue package that will be followed up with another recovery package in the coming weeks.

The plan would extend moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions until September and include funding for rental and utility assistance.

The president-elect also called on Congress to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the package will include assistance to fight hunger.

“I know what I just described does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly,” Biden said, adding that economists, financial institutions and Wall Street banks supported the need for stimulus.

“If we invest now – boldly, smartly, with unwavering focus on American workers and families – we will strengthen our economy, reduce inequality and put our nation’s long-term finances on the most sustainable course.”

The coronavirus relief-related funds will go toward a national vaccine program, testing, investments for workers to do vaccine outreach and contact tracing, and money for states.

“The vaccines offer so much hope … but the vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far,” Biden said, adding that on Friday he would set out his plan to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days after taking office.

“This will be one of the most challenging operations efforts we’ve ever undertaken as a nation. We’ll have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated.”

Pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions have cost millions of U.S. jobs. The Biden plan – if enacted – would buy more time for the economy to bridge the period until the distribution of vaccines allows for a wider resumption of economic activity.

U.S. equity index futures were little changed after Biden’s speech, details of which emerged during Thursday’s trading session.

“It’s one piece in the overall puzzle,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive at Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “It bridges the gap to getting restaurant workers, airline workers and other employees back to work.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason in Wilmington, Delaware, and Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia and Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Dan Burns and Simon Lewis; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Daniel Wallis)

Responses

  1. Kind of funny how those that support huge tax cuts for corporations are so against tax cuts for the rest of us.

    If instead of calling this coronavirus relief, they called it a tax rebate – which is what it really is after all If you look at the bottom line – it would be harder for the party of lower taxes to argue against.

    Like it or not, this money isn’t going to be counted as taxable income, so it means that you will end up giving the government less of your money this year. That is a tax cut, any way you look at it.

    Before you rail against how bad it is to give people money who don’t need it, ask yourself if you support lower taxes for everyone.

    Combined with the payments last year, this will be one of the largest tax cuts for the majority of Americans in a long time.

    1. “Kind of funny how those that support huge tax cuts for corporations are so against tax cuts for the rest of us.” Ed

      Sort of.

      If you ignore the racists, white supremacists, and the evangelicals, who remained to vote for His Majesty?

      Those whose incomes ranged between $100,000-200,000. Of course they would vote for him!

  2. Guess how much a house full of illegals will get this time around. Free obammy care for illegals this time too. The dem Moro. Spend other people’s money. SOPM. Just wait and see when the tax bills start this April and going forward. I looked up the unemployment benefits for NY and with the $600/week and other benefits it adds up to nearly $150k for husband/wife. Now today they are extending the fed portion to Sept. Why go to work. The guys that mow the yards around my neighborhood work for cash only So they get UE benefits ppp loans and the $25k small business grants. I don’t need the $2k and our house hold will get $4k this time and $2400 from the first time. It will all go back to the IRS to pay for income taxes in April. How does that help the economy. The amount of money being given away is sickening. You can even get the $25k small business grant with out even having a business. You just fill in the paperwork and tell them you plan on starting a small business. You can find the instructions on YouTube how to get the grants. This is crazy. Thanks Biden, ya putz

  3. We don’t need more of our children’s money, we need our lives back you fookin imbecile. End the lockdowns, end the scam, stop the Communist takeover.

  4. This makes no sense. To do what he is proposing would require 60 or more votes. The American Fascists are NOT going to go along with any $15 minimum wage change or most anything else here. It is a fantasy to think that this can pass.

    However, through budget reconciliation, all of this can pass nearly instantly and does not require the American Fascist’s approval! Supporting the people this way would also create a massive build in confidence in government by doing something right and competently.

    Why do Democrats continue the tradition of shooting themselves in both feet? Come on!

    1. @GC… the plan is to over offer stimulus programs because they know the repubs will try to vote it down… then the dems will blame the rebubs and make them look bad with the intention of getting more dem votes in the mid term…. in other words, you will be the sacrificed lamb that the dems put out there while trapping the repubs… in the end the dems get power and you won’t get squat…. surely you don’t think the dems are actually going to help anyone without making sure they get votes for their trouble…

  5. And an impeachment trial at the very start of your term is going to gum up anything else that your administration tries to get done, even if rules allow you to do both at the same time.

    1. I’m hearing someone is attempting to file impeachment papers on biden… does it ever stop…

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