What is Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan?January 15, 2021
PRESIDENT-elect Joe Biden has outlined a $1.9trillion plan to expand coronavirus jabs, boost jobs and jump-start America's stalling economy.
The ambitious new spending bid comes at a critical time for the world’s largest economy.
What is Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan?
Stimulus checks of $1,400 per person in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December are part of Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan.
By bumping up payments to $2,000, Biden's administration says it will help struggling families meet basic needs and support local businesses.
It's hoped the US President-elect's proposal to pour $1.9trillion into the economy will lead to a surge in jobs and spending during a record-breaking Covid pandemic recession.
He wants to spend big on vaccine rollout and testing, plus shore up state and local governments.
Biden also wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The spending boost includes an increase to the current extra weekly benefit to the unemployed, to $400 – up from $300.
And $170 billion would go toward reopening schools.
With cyber criminals continually targeting the States, $690million is earmarked to boost federal cybersecurity monitoring efforts, with $200million to hire hundreds of new cybersecurity experts.
His plan also provides $50billion to expand Covid testing.
There is also funding for the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, to encourage more Americans to get protected against Covid by getting vaccinated.
His goal is to have 100million jabs administered by the 100th day of his administration, to help stabilize the economy and tackle the pandemic.
“We will have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” Biden said on Thursday, January 14.
About $400billion would go directly to beating the deadly pandemic, while the rest is focused on economic relief and aid to states and localities.
So far, more than 385,000 people have died of coronavirus in the US.
Worryingly, government numbers out on Thursday January 14 showed a spike in weekly unemployment claims, to 965,000 – as rising infections are forcing ailing firms to cut back and lay off workers.
Biden strongly believes that America's economic recovery is linked with controlling the coronavirus.
“The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s not time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now.
"We cannot let people go hungry, we cannot let people get evicted,” Biden said in his speech on Thursday evening.
What has Joe Biden said about the American Rescue Plan?
The America Rescue Plan is packed with proposals on health care, education, labor and cybersecurity.
President-elect Joe Biden called it the "first step" towards recovery.
"During this pandemic, millions of Americans – through no fault of their own – have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck,” Biden said.
“There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”
He explained on Twitter: “We need to tackle the public health and economic crises we’re facing head-on.
"That’s why I’m announcing my American Rescue Plan.
“Together we’ll change the course of the pandemic, build a bridge toward economic recovery, and invest in racial justice.
“We have no time to waste when it comes to getting this virus under control and building our economy back better."
- Direct cash payments
- Extended unemployment
- Rent relief
- Food assistance
- Aid to small businesses
- Keeping essential frontline workers on the job
"Those are the key elements of my American Rescue Plan," he added.
When will the American Rescue Plan start?
The incoming Democratic administration’s proposed package provides targeted aid that economists say delivers the most effective economic boost.
But there's one major hurdle to overcome before Joe Biden's multi-pronged American Rescue Plan becomes reality.
Although the new $1.9 trillion spending comes at a critical time for the world’s largest economy, its approval must be voted on by Congress.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said they would move quickly to pass the American Rescue Plan after Biden takes office on January 20.
But Democrats have narrow margins in both chambers of Congress.
Political commentators fear that Republicans will push back.
They could target issues such as increasing the minimum wage; providing more money for states, while demanding inclusion of their priorities, such as liability protection for businesses.
But the Biden plan will be applauded by the Federal Reserve, where some officials had been concerned late last year about a diminishing fiscal response to the economic crisis.
The Fed has pledged to keep interest rates at their current near-zero level until inflation reaches and is on track to exceed two per cent, and the economy hits full employment.
The US Chamber of Commerce said it "welcomed the introduction of the plan".
"Specifically, we applaud the President-elect’s focus on vaccinations and on economic sectors and families that continue to suffer as the pandemic rages on.
"We must defeat Covid before we can restore our economy and that requires turbocharging our vaccination efforts."
What is Joe Biden’s America Rescue Plan?
Joe Biden is proposing a $1.9trillion plan to boost America. Here’s an overview:
$15billion in grants to more than one million small firms that have been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as other aid.
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
$350billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments to help front-line workers.
$9billion to modernize information technology systems at federal agencies.
$130billion for K-12 schools to help them reopen safely.
Public colleges and universities would get $35billion to cover pandemic-related expenses.
The federal minimum wage would be raised to $15 per hour from the current rate of $7.25 per hour.
CHILD CARE TAX CREDIT
The child care tax credit would be expanded for a year, to cover half the cost of child care up to $4,000 for one child and $8,000 for two or more for families making less than $125,000 a year.
Stimulus checks of $1,400 per person in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December 2020.
A $20billion national program to establish community vaccination centers across the US and send mobile units to remote communities.
An additional $50billion would expand testing efforts and help schools and governments implement routine testing.
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