Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package Includes More Stimulus Checks, State Government Bailout, $15 Federal Minimum Wage
President-elect Joe Biden called Thursday night for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package that will include another round of relief checks for most Americans, a bailout for state and local governments, boosted unemployment payments, and a higher federal minimum wage.
The package is the first part of what Biden called a two-step plan to get America through the rest of the pandemic. The second part will be the centerpiece of Biden’s first State of the Union address, scheduled for next month.
Biden’s proposals combine elements of last year’s COVID-19 bills with some Democratic priorities that didn’t make the cut. Biden will have slim Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, but he stressed the need for bipartisan support on a spending package that he described as a response to a “crisis of deep human suffering.”
“During this pandemic, millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity of a job and a paycheck,” Biden said. “It’s tested us beyond measure.”
About half the total cost of the proposal is aimed at households and unemployed workers. Biden wants Congress to approve $1,400 checks—on top of the $600 that individuals who earned less than $87,000 in 2019 received this month, as well as the $1,200 payments approved as part of the first COVID stimulus bill Congress passed in March 2020. It is unclear if there will be income cut-offs for the new payments, but Biden said he would push Congress to include adult dependents (such as college students) in the payments to households, even though they had been excluded from the $600 payments that Congress approved last month.
According to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit that advocates for balanced budgets, the new round of direct paymen
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