Joe Biden To Unveil $1.9 Trillion Covid-19 Relief Plan

President-elect Joe Biden is unveiling a $1.9 trillion plan to boost Covid-19 relief, including a national vaccination program and a $1,400 increase in direct payments to individuals.

Biden plans a speech on Thursday evening to promote the plan, which will be a legislative priority when he takes office on Jan. 20.

Dubbed the “American Rescue Plan,” it includes a national vaccination program as well as steps to contain Covid-19 and to reopen schools. It also would step up testing and contact tracing and provide sick leave.

Other parts of the plan include:

Unemployment benefits. Those who have exhausted their benefits would be able to extend them further, including to freelancers and contractors. That was a key push last year as Congress debated the first Covid-19 package.

Rental assistance. The eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, along with applications for forbearance on federally-guaranteed mortgages, would be extended until Sept 30. About $30 billion would be provided in rental assistance and to help small landlords. Another $5 billion would be for those at risk of homelessness.

Minimum wage. The hourly minimum would be increased to $15 per hour, the first boost since 2009.

Small business. The plan includes $15 billion in grants for the hardest hit small businesses. Biden’s team singled out restaurants, hotels and the arts as industries that have been particularly hard hit. Another $35 billion would go to state, local, tribal, and non-profit small business financing programs.

Direct payments. Financial assistance would be increased by $1,400, added to the $600 that Congress passed last month.

Other parts of the plan address child care assistance, expand health coverage, public transit, cybersecurity and worker safety.

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