US President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan on Thursday in his first major initiative to address the twin pandemic and economic crisis haunting America.
The proposal, which has to be passed by lawmakers, includes a $1400 payout to qualifying individuals, in addition to the $600 passed by the outgoing Congress that was decried as paltry by Democrats and President Trump, who both pressed for $2000. Many Republican lawmakers are still opposed to it, arguing it will simply add to the country’s debt that will have to be paid by future generations.
But Biden maintained that the immediate problems need to be addressed first. At a briefing, he said, “It’s not hard to see that we are in the middle of a once in several generations economic crisis, with the once in a generation public health crisis. The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight. There is no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now.”
The incoming President’s proposals also include $20 billion for a national vaccine plan; and $50 billion for expanding corona virus testing; with plans to hire an army of 100,000 public health workers. In all, nearly $400 billion of the $1.9 trillion is geared toward combating the virus.
There will also be unemployed benefits, rental assistance, aid to small businesses, and money to help schools re-open. The rescue plan comes as the US continues; to be ravaged by the pandemic, including record fatalities, which the outgoing President appeared to simply ignore in his final days as he wallowed; in self-pity at having to leave the White House.
Republicans lawmakers are already gearing up; to challenge the Biden prescription, with one Senator calling it “another economic blind buffalo that does nothing; to save Main Street businesses, get people back to work, or strengthen the economy.” But Biden, who spent more than three decades in the Senate, has pledged to work across; the aisle and build a consensus.
He said, “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.”