President-elect Joe Biden is calling for a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan to help Americans weather the economic shock of the pandemic and pump more money into testing and vaccine distribution.
Mr. Biden in a speech Thursday evening described his priorities related to the pandemic for the early days of his administration, pressing the often-divided Congress for urgent, unified action. His plan calls for a round of $1,400-per-person direct payments to most households, a $400-a-week unemployment insurance supplement through September, expanded paid leave and increases in the child tax credit. Aid for households makes up about half of the plan’s cost, with much of the rest going to vaccine distribution and state and local governments.
“We have to act and we have to act now,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden made both a moral and an economic pitch, arguing that it was essential to use the government’s borrowing power to support struggling families and arguing that the resulting consumer spending would spur growth.
“Even our debt situation will be more stable, not less stable, if we seize this moment with vision and purpose,” he said.