Joe Biden unveils $1.9tn US economic relief package that includes $1,400 direct payments to all Americans

 

United States' President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9tn (£1.4tn) Coronavirus stimulus package for the US economy before he takes office next week.


If passed by Congress, it would include $1tn for households, with direct payments of $1,400 to all Americans and also includes $415bn to fight the virus and $440bn for small businesses.


Biden has promised to beat the pandemic that has killed more than 385,000 people in the US.


In a primetime speech on Thursday night from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, he said: "A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there's no time to waste."


"The very health of our nation is at stake," he added. "We have to act and we have to act now."


The incoming president said: "There will be stumbles, but I will always be honest with you about both the progress we're making and what setbacks we meet."

 

The package includes $20bn for vaccinating Americans, including setting up mass vaccination hubs and dispatching mobile units to remote areas.


Two effective vaccines were delivered under the Trump administration, but health officials say the rollout needs to speed up.


"The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far," said Biden. His administration aims to deliver 100m jabs in 100 days.


The package also includes $50bn to expand testing and $130bn to help most schools reopen by the spring.


The plan would fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers for contact tracing.

 

The supplemental jobless benefits would also increase to $400 a week from $300 a week now and extended until September, along with a moratorium on evictions and home repossessions.


The proposal for $1,400 direct payments to Americans would come on top of $600 payments provided in a relief bill enacted last month bringing payouts for families to the $2,000 figure that both Biden and the outgoing Donald Trump called for.


The president-elect will also call on Congress to double the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour .

 

Here’s the full list of what Biden calls for:

 

  • Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including December’s $600 payments.
  • Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September
  • Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour
  • Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September
  • $350 billion in state and local government aid
  • $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
  • $50 billion toward Covid-19 testing
  • $20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes
  • Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6)

 

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on January 20.

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