The incoming administration will work with Congress on the rapid stimulus package after Biden takes office on January 20, although Trump’s impeachment threatens to consume lawmakers in the first few weeks.
The stimulus package is priced over $ 1.5 trillion and includes a pledge for 1,400 stimulus checks, according to a source close to the proposal, and Biden is expected to pledge to partner with private companies to increase the number of Americans getting vaccinated.
A significant portion of the additional financial resources will be devoted to minority communities. “I think you’ll see a real emphasis on these underserved communities, where there is a lot of hard work to be done,” said another transition manager.
Biden plans to present his package in a prime-time speech Thursday night, stressing the seriousness of the matter, but he will have to compete for attention with the political drama in Washington.
On Wednesday, the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Ten of his fellow Republicans have joined Democrats in accusing him of instigating an insurgency during last week’s deadly rampage on Capitol Hill.
The impeachment process threatens to last early in Biden’s tenure.
In a statement Wednesday night, Biden said, “I hope the Senate leaders find a way to meet their constitutional responsibilities for impeachment while also working on other pressing matters of this nation.”
The Democratic president-elect said last week that the stimulus package would be “multibillion-dollar” and argued that more spending early on would reduce the long-term economic damage from closures caused by the pandemic.
He also said there would be “billions of dollars” to speed up vaccine distribution, as well as money to help reopen schools and for state and local governments to avoid firing teachers, police and health workers.
More than 380,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic, of which 22.7 million were infected during this time. Closures and restrictions related to a pandemic have cost millions of jobs in the United States.
Although Trump himself backed $ 2,000 checks to Americans in the latest round of stimulus, many of his fellow Republicans have balked at the large amount, settling for $ 600 checks. Biden could face further opposition from Republicans to his efforts, but he will be helped by the fact that his fellow Democrats will control both the House and the Senate.
Biden’s new White House economic adviser Brian Deese told Reuters on Wednesday the president-elect would urge Congress to adopt immediate stimulus, then turn to related longer-term economic recovery measures health care and infrastructure.
Reporting by Jeff Mason in Wilmington, Delaware, and Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Edited by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney