President-Elect Biden Introduces COVID-19 Relief Plan
Late last week, President-elect Joe Biden, who will take the oath of office on Wednesday, January 20, released details of a COVID-19 relief package that he plans to ask Congress to pass as soon as he is sworn in.
According to an outline provided by the Biden transition team, the plan will include $415 billion to fight COVID-19 and nearly $1.4 trillion in aid to individuals, families, and small businesses struggling from the financial fallout of the pandemic.
Specifically, the plan includes:
- $350 billion for state, local, and tribal governments;
- $35 billion for low-interest loans and $15 billion in grants for small businesses with a focus on those owned by women and minorities;
- Extension of emergency paid leave to 106 million more Americans to reduce the spread of the virus (this goal would be accomplished in part by eliminating paid leave exemptions for employers with more than 500 and less than 50 employees);
- $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals and families;
- An extension of federal unemployment programs through the end of September 2021 and increase weekly additional unemployment payments from $300 to $400;
- An increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour;
- $20 billion to set up a national vaccination program and create community vaccination centers across the country;
- $50 billion for the nation’s COVID-19 testing infrastructure; and
- Additional funding and program to help families afford child care.
According to Reuters, if enacted, Biden’s plan would bring the total fiscal stimulus delivered to the U.S. economy since the crisis began to $5.2 trillion, a figure that is equivalent to about a quarter of U.S. annual economic output.