Biden introduces $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes $1,400 stimulus checks

President-elect Joe Biden introduced a $1.9 trillion spending package Thursday that aims to speed distribution of the coronavirus vaccines and provide economic relief brought on by the pandemic.

15 January 2021 Friday 07:05
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Biden introduces $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes $1,400 stimulus checks

The bundle proposal includes investing $20 billion at a nationwide vaccination program, $1,400 stimulation checks and expanding unemployment insurance supplements to $400 a week.

"Through this pandemic, millions of Americans without a fault of their own, have lost the dignity and esteem which comes with a job and a paycheck," Biden said through a virtually 25-minute address Thursday. "There is real pain, overwhelming the real economy."

"There's no time to waste. We must behave, and we must act now," he said.

During his speech, Biden noted that this was the very first of a two-part plan to in the path to recovery in the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden said that he would present a recovery plan following month during his speech to a joint session of Congress.

Over 385,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, including over 4,300 on Tuesday alone.

By way of example, Biden is indicating $1,400 stimulus checks in addition to the $600 direct payments passed in December. Democrats, in Addition to President Donald Trump, pushed for about $ 2,000 from the December legislation. Approximately 10 million people have been left unemployed since the pandemic smothered the economy last spring.

Biden's relief package also lays out his vaccine distribution plan.

The national vaccination program, that will be in partnership with tribes, states and lands, will deploy mobile vaccination units to areas that are tough to achieve and make the vaccine free to everyone in the United States. The relief plan also calls for $50 million to expand testing for COVID-19, purchase rapid tests, invest in expanding laboratory capacity and help school and local governments execute testing protocols.

Biden said he would present his vaccine distribution plan Friday. During his Thursday remarks, Biden criticized the Trump administration's rollout of this vaccine.

"The vaccine rollout in the United States was a dismal failure thus far," he stated, adding that he"would need to move heaven and earth for more people vaccinated."

The aid program also includes:

$170 billion to help reopen schools, in Addition to provide fiscal relief to students
Expand to 14 weeks paid sick and medical and family leave
$25 billion in lease assistance and another $5 billion dollars to pay house energy and water prices
Extending the 15 percent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits increase to September 2021
$15 billion for licenses to more than 1 million small companies
A $20 billion investment to Indian Nation to support tribal governments' response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Raising the minimum wage to $15 a hour
Biden's objective is to supply 100 million vaccinations during the first 100 days of his government starting Jan. 20. But the pace was slower than that so far, with 22 million doses distributed and 6.7 million administered by Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 150,000 people have obtained both necessary doses, according to a New York Times survey of 50 states.

"My No. 1 priority would be getting vaccine in people's arms," Biden said Monday because he obtained his next dose. "It's going to be hard. It is not going to be simple. But we could do it."

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The American Hospital Association has advocated the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate vaccination efforts among the nations and solve barriers to accelerated deployment of doses.

Biden may have a tricky time getting his proposal passed through Congress, as Democrats hold a slim majority in the House and Senate.

Congress approved $1,200 payments at the CARES Act which was passed in March and $600 obligations in the December relief package. Democrats called for the next payment to be bigger, but Republicans warned against growing deficit spending.

"I've been talking with a number of my Republican colleagues about being able to move on a second bundle sooner than later," Biden said Monday.

Shortly after Biden's transition group announced specifics of the proposal,'' Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a joint statement,"We will get right to work to reverse President-elect Biden's vision into laws which will pass both chambers and be signed into law."

"These proposals by the Biden-Harris administration will likely be critical to getting our country through this challenging period and following a period of recovery," the statement continued.

Over 10 million workers have been left unemployed since the pandemic began last spring, together with the other 140,000 jobs lost in December. Biden has argued that borrowing with low interest rates is vital to stop longer-term harm to the market.

"The main point is the job report shows we need to provide more immediate relief for working families and companies now. Currently," Biden said Friday, while showcasing economical nominees. "Not just to help them get to the other side of the painful crisis, but a bigger purpose to prevent a wider economic cost that exists on the market, which will happen due to long-term unemployment, hunger, homelessness and company failings."

Biden said Thursday that he looks forward to working with both parties in Congress"to proceed quickly to get the American rescue strategy to the American people."

"I know what I just described does not come cheaply," he explained. "But failure to do so will cost us dearly."