President-elect Joe Biden rolled out plans for a new COVID-19 relief package in a national address on Thursday, January 14, which will allocate $1.9 trillion towards a round of stimulus checks to help struggling Americans, as well as an aggressive vaccination plan to stem the spread of the virus.
Dubbed the "American Rescue Plan," Biden's blueprint for recovery will be up for the Democratic-controlled Congress to approve. Here are the key details Americans need to know.
Stating that "we have to act, and act now," Biden acknowledged that millions of Americans are currently in dire need of financial assistance. "There is real pain overwhelming the real economy," he noted. "The one where people rely on their paycheck — not their investments — to pay their bills, their meals and their children's needs."
To that end, he proposed a third round of stimulus checks at $1400 per direct payment, plus an extra weekly $400 for those who are unemployed. It's also anticipated that he will ask Congress to raise the current minimum wage of $15 to assist frontline workers.
Biden additionally noted that he plans a second step to address economic recovery that he will further discuss during his State of the Union address in February, involving investing in infrastructure, job training, manufacturing and clean energy. He said this plan aims to create more than 18 million jobs.
Biden also gave considerable time to discussing steps to curb the worsening pandemic. Calling sitting President Donald Trump's vaccine rollout plan a "dismal failure," Biden pledged $416 billion toward launching a national vaccination program. The goal is to vaccinate 100 million Americans, as well as get schools open again within his first 100 days as president.
Biden acknowledged this is an ambitious and challenging task, but asserted, "We will move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated."
The President-elect sprinkled his speech throughout with calls for bipartisan unity, which he deemed a "practical step" to get things done. He is apparently hoping the relief bill will be ready for him to sign at the end January; however, this may be delayed due to the Trump impeachment trial that is expected in the Senate in the near future.