President-elect Joe Biden has proposed a massive $1.9 trillion plan to battle the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis. The plan calls for sending out an additional $1,400 per person in direct payments, $350 billion for hard-hit state and local governments, and another $400 billion in pandemic response funds to pay for vaccinations, testing, school reopenings and emergency paid leave. It also offers enhanced unemployment benefits, tax credits to working families, rental assistance, and eviction and foreclosure moratoriums through September. Biden also called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He outlined his plan in a national address Thursday evening.
President-elect Joe Biden: “Some 18 million Americans are still relying on unemployment insurance. Some 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed their doors. … A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s no time to waste. We have to act, and we have to act now.”
Parts of Biden’s plan rankled some progressive lawmakers, like Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pointed to Biden’s proposal for $1,400 stimulus checks rather than the $2,000 checks many Democrats called for in recent weeks. Biden’s transition team says the $1,400 checks would build on $600 payments already approved by Congress. Bloomberg is reporting Biden will seek a compromise deal that will mean a smaller initial package featuring some priorities favored by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.