President-elect Joe Biden will unveil an emergency plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday evening, focusing on economic aid and boosting vaccine production and distribution.
The plan is projected to cost less than $2 trillion, and is aimed at receiving Republican support, people briefed on the contents told the Washington Post. Biden reportedly wants to receive bipartisan backing for his first legislative efforts, in order to convey a message of political unity following the elections.
Among the plan’s provisions are $1,400 stimulus checks, a child tax credit, and funds for emergency hiring in the health sector. While many Senate Republicans have rejected high stimulus checks, others including Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri have supported the effort.
“There’s a real understanding of the crisis moment that we find ourselves in, and an openness to working to try to address it,” Brian Deese, incoming director of the White House National Economic Council, told Reuters earlier this week. “So that’s our intention, is to work on a set of ideas that Democrats and Republicans can support.”
The plan will be revealed as the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. On Tuesday alone, 4,200 people died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, while roughly 130,000 Americans are hospitalized with the illness. Since the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus has infected 23.1 million Americans—7 percent of the U.S. population—and killed 385,000.
Biden is expected to call for billions of dollars in funding toward a national vaccination effort, with current vaccination drives stalled in most U.S. states. While the White House predicted in December that coronavirus vaccines could be distributed to 20 million people by 2021. However, as of Wednesday just 10 million people have received their first vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine tracker.
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