The Democratic Senate wins in Georgia have allowed President-Elect Biden to introduce a huge $1.7 trillion pandemic relief package.
Here are just a few of the highlights from the Biden transition team fact sheet as provided to PoliticusUSA:
– Give working families a $1,400 per-person check to help pay their bills, bringing their total relief payment from this and the December down payment to $2,000. More than 1 in 3 households — and half of Black and Latino households — are struggling to pay for usual household expenses like rent and groceries during the pandemic. In this crisis, working families need more than the $600 per person that Congress passed last year. President-elect Biden is calling on Congress to increase that direct financial assistance to $2,000. An additional $1,400 per person in direct checks will help hard-hit households cover expenses, spend money at local businesses in their communities, and stimulate the economy.
– Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Throughout the pandemic, millions of American workers have put their lives on the line to keep their communities and country functioning, including the 40 percent of frontline workers who are people of color. As President-elect Biden has said, let’s not just praise them, let’s pay them. Hard working Americans deserve sufficient wages to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, without having to keep multiple jobs.
– Extend and expand unemployment insurance benefits so American workers can pay their bills. Around 18 million Americans rely on the unemployment insurance program. Congress did the right thing by continuing expanded eligibility and extending the number of weeks unemployed workers can receive benefits. One study estimates that extending pandemic unemployment insurance programs through 2021 could create or save over five million jobs. But these benefits are set to expire in weeks — even as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. Millions of Americans are receiving benefits through unemployment insurance programs that will no longer serve new beneficiaries starting in mid-March.
President-elect Biden is calling on Congress to extend these and other programs, providing millions of hard-hit workers with the financial security and peace of mind they need and deserve. And, he believes Congress should provide a $400 per-week unemployment insurance supplement to help hard-hit workers cover household expenses.
The Biden plan contains increased food assistance, healthcare, and eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Biden also proposes aid for small businesses, restaurants/bars, and other industries that have been battered by the pandemic.
Democratic control of the Senate changed everything. Sen. Joe Manchin is grumbling about $2,000 checks, but at the end of the day, it won’t surprising when Manchin votes yes. Joe Biden can go big with a national COVID testing and vaccination program to get the pandemic under control while providing stimulus to get the economy back and keep struggling Americans afloat.
With one piece of legislation, Biden and the Democrats have the potential to do more than Trump and Republicans have done during the entire pandemic.
Joe Biden isn’t playing, and his first step to build America back better is a big one.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association