Biden to unveil sweeping economic rescue package
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President-elect Joe Biden will outline his sweeping economic rescue package in a prime-time speech in Wilmington, Del., on Thursday evening.
The package, which will be at the top of Biden’s legislative agenda as he takes office amid an ongoing pandemic, includes a commitment to $1,400 direct stimulus checks and has an estimated price tag in excess of $1.4 trillion, Reuters reported Thursday.
Biden will also make a large push to fund COVID-19 vaccinations and get them into the arms of Americans as distribution efforts continue to fall far short of what health experts and officials had anticipated.
The economy is still in a downward trend and last week’s job report showed conditions are actually worsening. The US shed 140,000 jobs in December, while another 965,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week.
The president-elect will use Thursday’s address to call on members of Congress in both parties to back his agenda and pass the package as the health crisis continues to rage almost one year after it first arrived on US shores.
Congress last month passed a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill after nearly nine months of inaction and partisan feuding, signing off on a $300 weekly unemployment supplement, $284.4 billion in forgivable small-business Paycheck Protection Program loans and $600 stimulus checks for most Americans.
Biden will reportedly join the push to more than double those direct payments and is also eyeing an increase to federal unemployment, which is down from its $600-per-week pandemic peak.
After winning two crucial Senate races in Georgia, Democrats now have undivided control of Washington, meaning the Biden administration will no longer have to contend with Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader.
However, Biden will need the support of multiple GOP senators to meet the required 60 votes to pass his economic bill. Control of the upper chamber will be split 50-50. Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, will be able to break any tie votes.
The earliest days of Biden’s presidency are also expected to be consumed by President Trump’s impeachment trial, which McConnell said Wednesday could not begin until after Trump’s term has ended.
Adding to the maelstrom is the fact that many of Biden’s political appointees will need to undergo the Senate confirmation process, meaning lawmakers will be torn in three equally pressing directions.
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