US president-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to tackle the economic fallout from the pandemic.
Called the “American Rescue Plan”, the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, and advance his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. On a parallel track, it delivers another round of aid to stabilise the economy while the public health effort seeks the upper hand on the pandemic.
The relief package, announced on Thursday, includes $415 billion focused on combating the COVID-19 pandemic, over $1 trillion in direct aid to individuals and families and $440 billion in assistance to businesses.
It includes $1,400 in additional stimulus cheques to Americans, an extension for key unemployment programmes from mid-March to the end of September and an increase in weekly additional unemployment assistance from $300 to $400 and increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over time.
“We not only have an economic imperative to act now – I believe we have a moral obligation,” Biden said in a nationwide address Thursday (local time). At the same time, he acknowledged that his plan “does not come cheaply”.