President-elect Joe Biden had promised those struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic help was on the way.
During a primetime address Thursday, Biden will outline his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan,” but his team shared details with reporters beforehand. The proposal comes after Congress agreed to a $900 billion bipartisan COVID-19 deal last December as a follow-up to March’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act.
Biden’s version would “change the course of the pandemic, build a bridge towards economic recovery, and invest in racial justice,” according to transition officials.
The package’s top line items include mounting a $400 billion national vaccination and testing program to, among other outcomes, reopen schools and protect vulnerable members of the public.
Biden also wants to send $1,400 per-person checks to households across America. That amount would supplement $600 direct payments distributed last month, bringing the total up to $2,000. Lawmakers, such as Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, have supported $2,000 checks.
Under the incoming president’s framework, unemployment insurance and renters assistance programs would be extended. The federal minimum wage would be increased to $15 an hour too.
“President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is ambitious, but achievable, and will rescue the American economy and start beating the virus,” transition aides said. “Congress should act expeditiously to help working families, communities, and small businesses persevere through the pandemic.”
While Democrats will control Congress from Jan. 20 after his and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration, it remains to be seen how much opposition Biden’s measure will receive on Capitol Hill. A divided Congress, working with an unpredictable White House, took roughly eight months to negotiate 2020’s second virus relief package.