“We have no time to waste when it comes to getting this virus under control and building our economy back better,” Biden said on Facebook of his American Rescue Plan.
The plan has many focal points, including a new batch of stimulus checks to Americans in need, along with a more thorough vaccine distribution plan to control the deadly pandemic, USA Today reported.
Biden will ask the new Democratic-controlled Congress to approve the American Rescue Plan. A lion’s share of the funds —$416 billion— would help propel a national vaccination program with a plan of vaccinating 100 million Americans and reopening schools in the first 100 days of his presidency, according to the article.
The plan comes at a dire time in the country when COVID-19 numbers continue to climb. According to the CDC, as of January 14, there have been 383,351 deaths and nearly 23 million cases in the U.S.
Biden also paid tribute to those who died due to the pandemic, and those struggling to make ends meet for their families.
He added that the two-step plan would help millions of Americans get out of poverty, assist in American industries, and more, the report added.
“Just as we are in the midst of a dark winter of this pandemic as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spike at record levels, there is real pain overwhelming the real economy,” he said in his speech. “The one where people rely on their paycheck — not their investments — to pay their bills, their meals, and their children’s needs.”
“And there is no time to wait,” he also said. “We have to act and act now.”
Last month, $600 payments started being distributed as part of the nearly $900 billion COVIDA-19 relief package that President Donald Trump signed into law after some delays including him asking lawmakers to instead send out $2,000 checks. The Democratic-led House passed a bill to allow for the larger checks, but the legislation was never voted on in the Senate, the report added.
He also said in the report that relief package was “a down payment,” and he called for “more action, more bipartisanship.”
Biden plans to discuss the second portion in his State of the Union speech in February, which he said will detail investments in infrastructure, job training, manufacturing and clean energy, job creation, and more, according to the report.
On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a follow-up statement after Biden unveiled his $1.9 trillion emergency relief plan, which also includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, and territorial governments to continue providing crucial services like Medicaid, police and fire, education, and more.
“President-elect Biden understands that in order to build our economy back better, we must join forces to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said. “His American Rescue Plan will help us do both. I have been calling on the federal government to pass crucial funding for state and local governments for months, and I am glad that the incoming Biden Administration has heard those calls.”
Whitmer added that the president-elect’s plan will “help us end the pandemic by mounting a national vaccine program to speed up vaccinations here in Michigan.”
“The plan will also provide some much-needed relief for our families and small businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” she said. “Once again, President-elect Biden has proven that he will work around the clock to end the COVID-19 pandemic and build our economy back better. I’m proud to have a partner in the White House who will help us get things done for Michiganders.”
Watch Biden’s speech here.