Days before his inauguration, President-elect Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal aiming to jump-start the coronavirus-hit economy as well as ramp up the vaccination drive across the US. Last year, during his campaign, Biden had vowed that he would take the coronavirus outbreak seriously and prepare a better response than the outgoing president.
While addressing the nation on Thursday, Biden said, “It’s not hard to see that we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis. A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s no time to waste.” Earlier in the day, his transition team unveiled the details of the massive package.
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The proposed bill includes $1 trillion in direct relief to Americans during the pandemic, $440b billion for communities and businesses hardly hit by the pandemic outbreak. Apart from that, it also includes $415 to speed up the vaccination drive and the government’s response to the virus. Under the new bill, the stimulus payment checks would be topping $1,400, which far more than $600 checks issued by the law passed by the congressional leaders.
Besides that, the supplemental unemployment insurance from $300 to $400 a week and would be extended until September 2021. Political experts are seeing this move as an ambitious step from Biden to set his short-term agenda into motion, battling the coronavirus that has so far killed 385,000 people in the US and helping the pandemic-hit economy.
Many are seeing it as a sharp contrast to the incumbent president, who spends his last days in office to undermine Biden’s victory rather than focusing on tackling the pandemic. However, Trump did support the $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans. Even though several Democrats supported the move, Republican lawmakers balked at the price of the bill.
The key development comes days after the US House of Representatives impeached Trump for the second time. Interestingly, as many as ten Republican lawmakers broke the party ranks and voted in favor of his impeachment over the unprecedented US Capitol riots. Meanwhile, Biden’s transition team has maintained that this bill will be a rescues package that is likely to be followed by another one in the coming weeks.
Under the new package, the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures would be extended until September this year. Additionally, the package includes assistance to fight hunger in the US and an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.
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