President-elect Joe Biden outlined his $1.9 billion coronavirus “American Rescue Plan” on Thursday, The New York Times reports.
Biden’s plan includes $1,400 direct payments on top of the $600 checks Congress voted for last month. The plan would also extend federal unemployment benefits through September at $400 per week and extend the eviction moratorium through that month as well. Biden also called for Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 as part of the relief deal.
The proposal also calls for expanding child tax credits, includes $350 billion to help state and local governments, and would provide more than $400 billion in funding for schools to reopen and to expand vaccine capacity.
The plan also includes billions to expand paid sick and family leave, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and food assistance and rental aid programs. The proposal would also provide over 1 million small business grants and includes $35 billion in low-interest loans.
"I know what I just described will not come cheaply," Biden said Thursday night. "But failure to do so will cost us dearly."
Will it pass?
Biden has signaled that he wants to try to drum up support from at least 10 Republicans to pass the bill on a bipartisan basis but some moderate Republicans have already signaled opposition to the plan.
Bernie Sanders, who will chair the budget committee, says he will aim to pass the bill under the budget reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes, rather than a regular vote, which requires 60 votes to defeat a filibuster.
Sanders praised the plan as a “very strong first installment” while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Biden to increase the payments from $1,400 to $2,000 and make the unemployment boost retroactive. Conservative Democrat Joe Manchin has also signaled that he does not support large direct payments.
Biden plans an even larger spending package:
Biden said next month he will announce an even larger spending plan that will focus on infrastructure, job creation, combating climate change, and addressing racial inequalities.
That plan is said to include hundreds of billions for clean energy projects like building electric vehicle stations and provide additional funding for health and education.