The US President-elect has declared the fight against the pandemic to be his most pressing task. For this he is planning a new aid package. Direct payments to citizens, for example, are to be more than doubled.
In the fight against the corona pandemic and the economic crisis in the USA, future President Joe Biden wants to implement a new trillion dollar economic stimulus package. On Thursday evening (local time) in Wilmington, Biden presented plans for an aid package worth 1.9 trillion dollars, which is the equivalent of around 1.6 trillion euros. Among other things, it provides for direct payments to citizens of 1,400 dollars, around 1150 euros, per capita. Biden also suggests expanding and renewing unemployment benefits. He also wants to promote vaccinations in the country and enable more corona tests. “The health of our nation is at stake,” he warned. “We cannot afford to do nothing.”
In December, the US Congress launched an aid package worth around $ 900 billion, around 740 billion euros, which also included $ 600 payments to US citizens. However, experts criticized the measures as inadequate in view of the severity of the economic crisis as a result of the corona pandemic.
Biden will be sworn in as president next Wednesday. He had already announced a few days ago that he wanted to launch another billion dollar stimulus package as soon as he was in office. Now he presented the details.
Biden: “We have to act now”
In addition to direct payments to households and more support for the unemployed, further help for small businesses is planned, as well as extended sick pay regulations so that people do not show up to work despite Covid symptoms. Biden also advocates longer-term changes such as an increase in the minimum wage. Biden wants to invest billions in the fight against the corona crisis – for example in a national vaccination program and a massive expansion of corona tests. Schools should get financial help so they can reopen in a safe way.
Biden complained that millions of people in the country have lost their jobs, many are in arrears with rent and run the risk of losing their homes, families have to queue in long lines for food expenses because they do not have enough money for food. “We have to act now,” he said. “We have a moral obligation.”
Big expenses are involved, Biden admitted. But these investments are important to avert long-term economic damage to the country. Biden said the proposed package is the first part of a two-part plan: bailing out first, then bailing out the economy. In the coming month he will present plans for a long-term stimulation of the economy – through large investments in the country’s infrastructure. It is about investing “bravely” and “wisely”. The decisions made in the coming months will determine whether America will take on a leadership role again or let others overtake it.
Coronavirus hits US economy hard
The USA is the country with the highest number of confirmed corona infections and corona deaths worldwide. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 23 million infections have been registered, and more than 387,000 people have died as a result of an infection.
The pandemic has also plunged the US economy into a serious crisis. Millions of people lost their jobs. After easing in the summer, the crisis worsened again in recent months.
Congress has to agree
The 78-year-old US Democrat, who will take office next Wednesday, has made the fight against the corona pandemic his most urgent task. For the new aid package, Biden needs the approval of Congress. His Democrats control the House of Representatives and, from next week, also the Senate, but the majority in the House of Lords is extremely tight.
The leading Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, already agreed on Thursday evening (local time) their support for the aid package: “We will immediately get to work to convert the vision of President-elect Biden into a legal text which will pass through both chambers and come into force. “
In March, in view of the economic crisis, Congress passed the largest aid package in US history, worth $ 2.2 trillion. Funding was topped up in April with a further aid program. After that, Democrats and Republicans argued for months over new aid. The agreement was not reached until December, weeks after the November 3rd presidential election.