United States President-elect Joe Biden plans to roll out an economic stimulus package worth trillions of dollars on Thursday that includes relief for unemployed Americans and rent forbearance for tenants.
The president-elect said Friday’s dismal jobs report — which saw the economy shed 140,000 jobs in December — makes it clear that Americans need more immediate and direct relief from the coronavirus pandemic and that taking action now will help the economy even with deficit financing.
Biden, a Democrat, said the bipartisan COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress in December was a very important step, but amounted to just a “down payment” on broader efforts needed to help Americans. The package included $600 cheques, but Biden wants the amount increased to $2,000.
“Economic research confirms that with conditions like the crisis today, especially with such low interest rates, taking immediate action – even with deficit financing – is going to help the economy, long term and short term, reduce scarring in the workforce, increase growth and reduce our national debt burden,” Biden told reporters as he announced his nominees to head the Commerce and Labor departments.
Biden, who takes office on January 20, said he would map out plans for the stimulus package next week, including efforts to ensure quicker distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
“We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people that $2,000 relief direct payment,” he said, noting that $600 “is simply not enough”.
Biden also said more action was needed to help Americans get to the other side of the health and economic crisis, and to “avoid a broader economic cost that exists out there, that will happen due to long-term unemployment, hunger, homelessness and business failings.”