President-elect Biden to unveil $1.5 trillion stimulus package proposal

WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden will unveil a stimulus package proposal on Thursday designed to jump-start the economy during the coronavirus pandemic with an economic lifeline that could exceed $1.5 trillion.

Biden plans to announce his plans for coronavirus vaccine rollout and economic recovery in a televised address Thursday.

The incoming administration will work with Congress on a quick stimulus package after Biden takes office on Jan. 20. The stimulus package has a price tag above $1.5 trillion and includes a commitment for $1,400 stimulus checks, according to a source familiar with the proposal. Biden is also expected to commit to partnering with private companies to increase the number of Americans getting vaccinated.

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A significant portion of the additional financial resources will be dedicated to minority communities.

“I think you will see a real emphasis on these underserved communities, where there is a lot of hard work to do,” a transition official said.

Democratic lawmakers have been eager to push for $2,000 coronavirus relief payments to Americans, which President Trump supported in the last round of stimulus. The measure to increase direct payments for most Americans from $600 to $2,000 did not pass on the Senate floor, with Republican lawmakers arguing in favor of a more targeted approach.

“Money flowing to households earning well into six figures who did not lose any jobs or income last year,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the rare New Year’s Day session. “The House Democrats’ bill is just simply not the right approach.”

Biden had told reporters last month that he supported the $2,000 checks, and he has called the most recent $600 stimulus checks a “down payment.”

Biden plans to introduce the more than $1.5 trillion package a day after the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Ten of Trump’s fellow Republicans joined Democrats to charge him with “incitement of an insurrection” following last week’s riots at the Capitol.

The impeachment proceedings are anticipated to rollover into the beginning of Biden’s term.

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In a statement on Wednesday night, Biden said, “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”

The president-elect said last week the stimulus package would be “in the trillions of dollars” and argued that more spending early on would reduce the long-term economic damage from the shutdowns spurred by the pandemic.

He also said there would be “billions of dollars” to speed up vaccine distribution, along with money to help reopen schools and for state and local governments to avoid laying off teachers, police officers and health workers.

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More than 380,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic, and a total of roughly 23 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Biden’s incoming White House economic adviser, Brian Deese, told Reuters on Wednesday the president-elect would press Congress to pass immediate stimulus measures and then turn to longer-term economic recovery measures related to health care and infrastructure.

Reuters contributed to this report. All reporting by Jeff Mason and Jarrett Renshaw.