Biden to unveil emergency coronavirus plan, with major focus on vaccines

The aid package deal, to be formally unveiled in a Biden speech scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Eastern time Thursday evening, comes at a crucial time for the nation. More than 4,200 individuals died from the coronavirus on Tuesday, a new daily-record high. Also, the financial restoration seems to be backsliding, with jobless claims spiking to a brand new excessive since August, as nearly a million people filed for unemployment last week.

It additionally comes six days earlier than his inauguration, and a day after the House of Representatives impeached President Trump, highlighting Biden’s problem of making an attempt to get his high agenda merchandise handed even because the Senate is probably going to be enmeshed in an impeachment trial. Biden addressed that problem in an announcement following the impeachment vote.

“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” Biden mentioned. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.

“Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work,” Biden mentioned, citing the necessity to get the vaccination program on monitor and deal with the financial system’s deterioration.

Covid vaccinations proceed to lag behind the federal government’s targets, and Biden announced last week that he plans to launch almost all out there doses of the vaccine upon taking workplace.

Building on that promise, Biden is expected to pledge billions of dollars Thursdays to underwrite a nationwide vaccination effort, including boosting vaccine production and delivery, creating public awareness campaigns, and providing for emergency hiring in the public health sector, among other provisions, according to people briefed on his plans.

“There’s a real understanding of the crisis moment that we find ourselves in, and an openness to working to try to address it,” Brian Deese, incoming director of the White House National Economic Council, said at a Reuters event this week. “So that’s our intention, is to work on a set of ideas that Democrats and Republicans can support.”

As The Washington Post has previously reported, Biden’s short-term relief plan will also include an expansion of a key child tax credit, $2,000 stimulus payments for individuals, and an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance through September. Those unemployment benefits are set to expire in mid-March, creating a deadline for congressional action.

The package may also include provisions to help schools struggling to reopen safely and to address the hunger crisis that has overwhelmed food banks around the nation, as millions of unemployed Americans struggle to buy basic staples.

Congress has already devoted some $4 trillion to fighting the pandemic and its economic fallout, including a $900 billion package Trump signed in December. But Biden and his advisers have repeatedly described that package as unfinished business they need to build on.

“We need an immediate rescue package that finishes the work that Congress took an important step on in December, but left a lot of work undone,” Deese said in his remarks earlier this week.

The legislation passed in December included $600 payments to individuals. Biden’s proposal is expected to call for an additional $1,400 — bringing the total to $2,000, which is a figure widely backed by congressional Democrats as well as a number of Republicans, including Trump.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called on Biden this week to press for $2,000 payments immediately upon taking office, saying such a move would help “to heal our deeply divided nation.”

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