Biden is aiming to get GOP support for the measure, although at nearly $2 trillion the price tag is likely to be too high for many Republicans to swallow. But after campaigning as a bipartisan dealmaker, Biden wants to at least give Republicans the opportunity to get behind his first legislative effort as president.
“Unity is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. It’s a practical step to get any of the things we have to get done as a country, get done together,” Biden said in an evening speech in Wilmington, Del.
“I’m convinced we are ready to get this done,” he said. “The very health of our nation is at stake.”
The package is titled the “American Rescue Plan.” Biden described it as a package of emergency measures to meet the nation’s immediate economic and health-care needs, to be followed in February by a broader relief plan he will unveil in his first appearance before a joint meeting of Congress.
Thursday’s proposal comes at a critical time for the nation. More than 4,200 people in the United States died of the coronavirus on Tuesday, a new daily record. The economic recovery appears to be backsliding, with jobless claims spiking to a new high since August, as nearly 1 million people filed for unemployment last week.
It also comes six days before Biden’s inauguration and a day after the House of Representatives impeached President Trump, highlighting the president-elect’s challenge of trying to get his top agenda item passed as the Senate is likely to be enmeshed in an impeachment trial. Biden has expressed the hope that the Senate can simultaneously move forward on his agenda while weighing impeachment, although it’s unclear how well that might work in practice.
Biden alluded only in passing to the political challenges his proposal will confront, remarking of his proposal to raise the minimum wage: “People tell me that’s going to be hard to do,” but noting that it just happened in Florida.
The plan contains a raft of provisions that build on the approximately $4 trillion Congress has already devoted to addressing the pandemic, which included a $900 billion measure Trump signed last month. Biden has repeatedly described that last bill as unfinished business, saying Thursday, “We will finish the job.”
Biden’s proposal is divided into three major areas: $400 billion for provisions to fight the coronavirus with more vaccines and testing, while reopening schools; more than $1 trillion in direct relief to families, including through stimulus payments and increased unemployment insurance benefits; and $440 billion for aid to communities and businesses, including $350 billion in emergency funding to state, local and tribal governments.
The proposal will aim to make good on Biden’s plan for a universal vaccination program, devoting $20 billion to that goal, as well as $50 billion for a “massive expansion” of testing and $130 billion to help schools reopen safely. Among the many goals laid out in the…
Go to the news source: Biden unveils emergency coronavirus and stimulus plan, with major focus on vacci…