U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to jump-start the economy and speed up the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The package includes $415 billion to bolster the response to the virus and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
There are some $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
Stimulus payment checks would be issued for $1,400 – topping up the $600 checks issued under the last congressional stimulus legislation.
Supplemental unemployment insurance would also increase to $400 a week from $300 a week now and would be extended to September.
“It’s not hard to see that we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis.
“A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said in a prime-time address on Thursday evening.
“We have to act and we have to act now.”
Biden’s plan is meant to kick off his time in office with a large bill that sets his short-term agenda into motion quickly: helping the economy and getting a handle on a virus that has killed more than 385,000 people in the United States as of Thursday.
It also provides a sharp contrast with Trump, who spent the last months of his administration seeking to undermine Biden’s election victory rather than focusing on additional coronavirus relief.
Trump, who leaves office on Wednesday, did support $2,000 payments to Americans, however.
Watch Biden deliver the plan: