Bankrupting the nation from the jump start. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a whopping $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan for digging out of the coronavirus-fueled economic downturn that he’ll pitch to Congress as one of his first acts as commander in chief. The big-spending bailout, which he’s calling the American Rescue Plan, proposes $1,400 checks for most Americans, an extension of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium until September and a national vaccination program as local distribution rates continue to fall short.
“The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight. There’s no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now,” Biden said in a speech from Wilmington, Del., on Thursday evening in which he called for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to help him pass his ambitious plan. “This is what economists are telling us. More importantly, it is what the values we hold dear in our hearts as Americans are telling us. A growing chorus of top economists agree that in this moment of crisis with interest rates at historic lows, we cannot afford inaction,” he continued, touting the enormous bailout as a “smart fiscal investment” in the nation’s future.
Despite Biden’s hard sell, Republicans in Congress who vociferously opposed a similar $2.2 trillion bailout pushed by House Democrats in October are likely to raise objections to his package, too. The bill will be the most pressing piece of legislation on Biden’s agenda as he takes office amid a worsening pandemic that has so far killed 386,000 Americans and infected 23.2 million. It follows on the heels of a $900 billion bailout Congress passed just last month after months of inaction caused by partisanship. That bill included a $300 weekly unemployment supplement, $284.4 billion in forgivable small-business Paycheck Protection Program loans and $600 stimulus checks for most Americans. In his speech, Biden said that package was not enough.