Biden laid out a two-step "rescue and recovery" plan to spur economic recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the topics Biden mentions in the speech:
- Stimulus plans for small businesses
- COVID-19 vaccine distribution
- Funding to reopen schools safely
- Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour
- Other ways to stop the spread of COVID-19
- The rescue plan, which Biden unveiled in a Jan. 14 speech in Wilmington, DE, has little or no infrastructure or construction-related funding
- The President-elect did however promise to bring his "Build Back Better" plan before congress next month which includes $2 trillion in spending over four years for infrastructure
Nearly 400,000 Americans have lost their lives due to the Coronavirus pandemic and millions others have lost their jobs and livelihood because of the stark shift in the way our world has changed.
President-elect Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to combat the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, outlining the type of aid that Democrats have demanded for months and signaling the shift in the federal government’s pandemic response as Biden prepares to take office.
"There's no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now," Biden said in a speech addressing the nation. "We cannot afford inaction."
The package includes funding to combat the pandemic directly, including money to accelerate vaccine deployment and to safely reopen most schools within 100 days. The rescue proposal, when fleshed out in the text of legislation, would have to win approval in Congress which Biden says would come with a price tag of $400 billion.
"That's a great deal but I am convinced we are ready to get this done," Biden said. "The very health of our nation is at stake."
After the inauguration on Jan. 20, the path for Biden's plan would be smoothed somewhat by Democrats' regaining control of the Senate.
Biden's Second Step
Next month, Biden said that during his first appearance in Congress he would lay out his Build Back Better plan that would generate even more economic recovery.
"The Build Back Better plan will make historic investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, research and development, and clean energy. Investments in a care-giving economy with skills and training needed by our workers to be able to compete and win in a global economy," Biden said.
The plan calls for $2 trillion in spending over four years, more than the $1.7 trillion the campaign previously proposed to spend over a decade.
"It’s time to stop talking about infrastructure and to finally start building an infrastructure so we can be more competitive," Biden said. "Millions of good paying jobs that put Americans to work building our roads, our bridges, our ports. Making them more climate- resilient to make. To make them faster, cleaner, cheaper to transport American goods around the world. That's how we compete."
The key elements of the Biden plan to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future include:
- Build a Modern Infrastructure
- Position the U.S. Auto Industry to Win the 21st Century with technology invented in America
- Achieve a Carbon Pollution-Free Power Sector by 2035
- Make Dramatic Investments in Energy Efficiency in Buildings, including Completing 4 Million Retrofits and Building 1.5 Million New Affordable Homes
- Pursue a Historic Investment in Clean Energy Innovation
- Advance Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation
- Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economy Opportunity
"I know what I described does not come cheaply but failure to do so will cost us dearly," Biden said. "The consensus among leading economists is we simply cannot afford not to do what I'm proposing. If we invest now boldly, smartly and with unwavering focus on American workers and families we will strengthen our economy, reduce inequity and put our nation's longterm finances on the most sustainable course."
Biden said that all of this will be paid for equally by Americans, ensuring that everyone pays their fair share.