WILMINGTON, Del.: President-elect Joe Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal on Thursday, saying bold investment was needed to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines to bring the coronavirus under control.
Biden campaigned last year on a promise to take the pandemic more seriously than President Donald Trump, and the package aims to put that pledge into action with an influx of resources for the COVID-19 response and economic recovery.
"A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there's no time to waste," Biden said in prime-time remarks from Delaware. "We have to act and we have to act now."
The aid package includes $415 billion to bolster the response to the virus and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, some $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
Stimulus payment checks would be issued for $1,400 - on top of the $600 checks delivered by the last congressional stimulus legislation. Supplemental unemployment insurance would also increase to $400 a week from $300 a week now and would be extended to September.
Biden's plan is meant to kick off his time in office with a large bill that sets his short-term agenda into motion quickly: helping the economy and getting a handle on a virus that has killed more than 385,000 people in the United States as of Thursday.