Five days until Inauguration Day.
But why wait five days?
Mr. Biden understands the dire situation facing our country and is not waiting for Inauguration Day to send his COVID plans to Congress.
Tonight, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris announced the American Rescue Plan, a legislative plan “to change the course of the pandemic, provide millions of households’ immediate relief, build a bridge towards economic recovery, and cut child poverty in half.”
The President-elect explained this is a two-step plan: Rescue & Recovery.
The American Rescue plan is described below.
The next step – Recovery – will be announced when the President-elect addresses a joint session of Congress in February.
Details of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan include:
- $20 billion national vaccination program in partnership with states, localities, tribes, and territories
- $50 billion to expand testing, expand lab capacity, help schools and local governments implement testing protocols
- Enhance tracing to address and identify emerging strains of COVID
- $130 billion to meet the president-elect’s goal of safely re-opening a majority of K-8 schools in the first 100 days
- $35 billion for the Higher Education emergency relief
- $5 billion for a Hardest Hit Education Fund
- Launch community vaccination sites nationwide and deploy mobile vaccination units
- Create and fund a 100,000 public health jobs program, tripling the country’s community health roles
- $30 billion to the Disaster Relief Fund to eliminate supply shortages of protective gear
- $10 billion to expand domestic manufacturing of pandemic supplies to fully deploy the Defense Production Act to produce more supplies
- 100% reimbursement for critical emergency response resources to states, localities, and tribes
- Invest in high-quality treatments
- Provide paid sick leave to contain spread of the virus
- Establish a national COVID workplace protection standard through OSHA
- Address health disparities ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines and expanded access
- Funds for states to deploy strike teams to long-term care facilities
- Immediate relief to working families with $1,400 per-person checks in addition to the $600 provided under the omnibus spending law (Public Law 116-260).
- $30 billion in rental, energy, and water assistance
- $5 billion housing assistance
- Nutrition assistance including extending the 15% SNAP benefit increase,
- Expand access to safe and reliable childcare and affordable healthcare especially COBRA insurance
- Refundable Child Tax Credit and expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour
- Hazard pay for frontline essential workers
- Extend unemployment insurance
- $15 billion in small business grants as well as $175 billion in low interest loans
- Funds for state and local governments to ensure essential services such as fire, emergency personnel, policy can continue in the wake of state and local budget deficits created by COVID.
- Extend eviction and foreclosure moratorium through September 30, 2021
- $20 billion for public transit
- Support for Tribal governments
- Modernize federal IT systems to combat cyber attacks
The President-elect acknowledges the Rescue Plan is ambitious and calls on Congress to pass his plan to meet the urgency of the moment facing our country.
If tonight’s announcement is any indication of the way Mr. Biden will lead the country, buckle up folks. He means business.