WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will propose a $ 1.9 trillion bailout to combat the economic downturn and Covid-19 crisis. Thursday evening will set out the kind of sweeping aid Democrats have been asking for for months, and the impending postponement signals the federal government’s pandemic response as Mr Biden prepares for office.
The extensive package includes more than $ 400 billion to fight the pandemic directly, including accelerating vaccine use and safely reopening most schools within 100 days of the handover, and $ 350 billion to help state and local governments to help bridge budget constraints. It also provides more help to workers and families, including $ 1,400 in direct payments, more generous unemployment benefits, government-mandated paid vacation for workers, and large subsidies for childcare costs.
Mr Biden took quick action to set the agenda at a time of national crisis and the day after President Trump was ousted in the House of Representatives. While it reflects political change in Washington as the Democrats take control of Congress, support for Mr Biden’s program will immediately face challenges, starting with the possibility that a Senate trial of Mr Trump could delay his passage.
It is also unclear how easily Mr Biden can get enough votes for a plan with such ambitions and costs, especially in the Senate. Democratic victories in two special elections in Georgia last week gave Mr Biden’s party control over the Senate – but only with a 50-50 advantage after the decisive vote by elected Vice President Kamala Harris. Mr Biden must compensate all defective moderate Democrats with Republican votes in a time of tight bipartisanism.
His Thursday speech comes at an incredibly challenging moment as the number of viruses continues to rise, millions of workers are being phased out, and American partisan divisions threaten to tear them apart. A week after a mob stormed the Capitol to disrupt Congressional confirmation of Mr. Biden’s victory, Washington is like an armed camp, with steel barricades erected across the city and armed law enforcement officers patrolling the streets.
Federal officials have already concluded that Mr Biden’s swearing-in is a likely target for armed extremists and will flood Washington’s more than 20,000 National Guardsmen from 13 different states.
The economic recovery from the pandemic recession has also reversed in the face of the winter surge in the virus and new waves of restrictions on economic activity in cities and states.
The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1.15 million Americans filed new jobless claims in the first full week of the new year, up 25 percent from the previous week. Another 284,000 applications have been filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal emergency program for workers and freelancers who are normally not eligible for unemployment benefits. The nation cut 140,000 jobs in December, the department reported last week.
Mr. Biden’s aides say the urgency of the moment has led the president-elect to propose a far bigger economic upturn than the Obama administration pushed for when it took office in a 2009 recession. The Biden proposal is more than 50 percent larger than the Obama-Biden stimulus, adjusted for inflation, and it comes on top of the trillion-dollar economic aid that Congress approved under Mr Trump last year.
Biden advisors said the package reflected the scale of the challenge facing the economy and the national health system. In a briefing Thursday, a Biden official added that existing national planning and infrastructure for mass vaccination and testing is far less developed than the incoming White House team expected.
In an evening speech in Delaware, Mr. Biden will explain his so-called American rescue plan, which he and his economic team have been refining for weeks. The remarks will effectively open Mr Biden’s presidency and put him in the brightest spotlight since his nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer.
The Biden “rescue” proposal, which would be funded entirely by increased federal borrowing, starts from the idea that the virus and recovery are intertwined.
Economists campaigning for more government aid to people and businesses said this week that Mr Biden’s advisors understand that the focus needs to be on vaccine use to get the virus under control.
“What the economy needs is a successful introduction of vaccines and a reduction in the risks of social and economic activities,” said Aaron Sojourner, labor economist at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management who served on the White House Economic Council advisers among the advisers Obama and Trump administrations. “This will go a long way toward promoting recovery. It won’t go all the way, but it will go a long way. “
Mr. Biden who promised to get “100 million Covid vaccine Shots In The Arms Of The American People “On his 100th day in office, he said last week that he intended to release almost all available coronavirus vaccine bottles upon taking office, rather than withhold some as the Trump administration had done.
The $ 20 billion program, which he will announce Thursday, calls for community vaccination centers across the country. In recent speeches, he said he would like to see mass vaccination sites in high schools, sports stadiums and the like that may be manned by the National Guard or Federal Emergency Management Agency staff.
Mr. Biden is also calling for a “Public Health Employment Program” that aims to address its goals of strengthening the economy and response to Covid-19 while rebuilding the country’s fragile public health infrastructure. The proposal would fund 100,000 public health workers who “could perform critical tasks like contacting vaccines and tracing contacts,” the campaign said.
At the same time, Mr Biden is interested in addressing the racial health differences so painfully exposed by the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately claimed the lives of people of color. He pledges to increase funding for community health centers and also intends to fund efforts to contain the pandemic in prisons and prisons where African Americans and Latinos are over-represented.
Mr Biden will also suggest a wide range of efforts to help the Americans who have suffered the most from the economic retreat that has come with the resurgence of hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.
His plan would give 106 million Americans, regardless of the size of their employer, emergency paid vacation leave, a proposal many Congressional Republicans worked on to cut back in a stimulus plan passed last spring, and it would extend tax credits to many families to make up for that to $ 8,000 in annual childcare costs.
It gives billions in aid to tenants who are struggling to keep up with rising unpaid liabilities to landlords, and it would provide grants to millions of the hardest hit small businesses. In addition, two tax credits are being temporarily increased to effectively provide more money from the government to low-income workers and families. Biden transition officials said expanding the earned income tax credit and child tax credit would cut child poverty in half when many low-income parents have lost their jobs and turn to food banks for help.
Mr Biden will also urge Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, a priority he set out during his election campaign and which has been endorsed by many of the officials he has chosen for top cabinet positions.
The president-elect will also propose extending the expanded unemployment benefit until the end of September and pledge to work with leaders of Congress on a system to automatically renew support for hard-hit Americans until economic data shows recovery is sufficiently advanced.
Some progressive groups said the scope and cost of the package were a welcome surprise. “It’s really remarkable for a president to come out and understand not only the need for tax breaks, but the inequalities in the relief we’ve had so far,” said Elizabeth Pancotti, policy analyst with liberal advocacy group Employ America.
Mr. Biden also plans to release additional spending proposals, known as the “recovery” package, in February to follow the original “bailout” bill.
The proposals in the second tranche are likely to be bigger than the first, and Democrats plan to pay some or all of them through tax hikes for the corporate and rich. The second package is expected to focus on job creation and infrastructure, including spending hundreds of billions of dollars on clean energy projects such as electric vehicle charging stations, as well as health care and education spending by Mr Biden’s team and leading Congressional Democrats have stated.
Mr Biden has said he will work to build Republican support for his plans and it will take 10 Republican Senate votes to overcome a filibuster. But top Democrats in the House and Senate are preparing to move quickly to a parliamentary process known as budget balancing in case they can only get a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans used the process to bypass a filibuster and approve the 2017 tax cuts that Trump signed.
Republicans’ refusal to consider a stimulus package of more than $ 1 trillion kept the size of the last bill passed in December to ease Congress down. Mr Biden’s advisors said Thursday they were confident that the nearly $ 2 trillion package he proposed could be implemented at a time when interest rates remain low and many economists are telling lawmakers to cut spending to get that Promoting economic growth would have widespread support from the Democrats.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg Contribution to reporting.