President-elect Joe Biden has proposed “direct cash payments” totaling $2,000 be given to Americans, including a third stimulus check of $1,400, in addition to the $600 payment issued last month, as part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The latest proposal follows previous calls made to boost last month’s $600 second stimulus check to $2,000.
The former vice president unveiled the details of his “American Rescue Plan” in a video address on Thursday.
His proposed relief package is divided across three main categories, including $400 billion for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, which would see $50 billion go toward testing and $20 billion toward developing a national vaccine program.
The second entails around $1 trillion in direct relief to families, including through stimulus payments and unemployment insurance benefits, while the third bracket sees $440 billion go toward communities and businesses.
“We have no time to waste when it comes to getting this virus under control and building our economy back better,” Biden tweeted Thursday ahead of his video address.
He outlined the following as the “key elements of my American Rescue Plan,” in a subsequent tweet Thursday:
- Direct cash payments
- Extended unemployment
- Rent relief
- Food assistance
- Aid to small businesses
- Keeping essential frontline workers on the job
Here we look at the key elements outlined by Biden for his proposed COVID-19 relief package.
Direct cash payments
The proposed third stimulus checks would allow some adult dependents, such as children over 17 years of age, who were left out of the first and second round of checks to receive payment in the third round.
The spouses of undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security Numbers and were left out in the first round would also be eligible for payment in the third round.
Biden also called for raising federal unemployment benefits to $400 per week and extending the availability of the benefits through the end of September.
Millions of jobless Americans are slated to lose their unemployment benefits in March under the latest legislation.
The former vice president also wants to tie the level of unemployment benefits to general economic variables, so that benefits would automatically rise with an increased unemployment rate seen across the country.
He also proposed raising the federal minimum wage level to $15 per hour.
Biden also proposed an extension of eviction and foreclosure delays through the end of September.
The federal eviction moratorium is currently due to expire at the end of the month. Biden’s plan aims to extend the deadline to September 30 and allow those with federally-guaranteed mortgages to apply for forbearance until the same date.
In addition to the $25 billion provided last month, Biden aims to offer an additional $25 billion in rental assistance to members of low- and moderate-income households who lost their jobs amid the ongoing outbreak.
He also proposed providing $5 billion to renters struggling to pay utility bills and $5 billion to states and localities to help them offer aid to those at risk of becoming homeless.
He also want to make the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and raise the credit to $3,000 per child, with $3,600 for a child under the age of six.
Biden proposed extending the 15 percent increase in food stamp benefits, which was due to expire in June, through September. He also aims to provide another $3 billion to help women, infants and children buy food, as well as offer U.S. territories $1 billion towards nutrition aid.
The president-elect also proposed partnering with restaurants to help provide food to the needy as well as jobs to restaurant workers who have been laid-off.
Aid to small businesses
Biden wants to put $15 billion towards a new grant scheme for small business owners, which would be in addition to the existing Paycheck Protection Program, and provide grants to more than a million small businesses.
The former vice president proposed investing $35 million in non-profit financing programs to help make low-interest loans available and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.
He also proposed offering a combined total of 14 weeks of paid sick leave and family medical leave for workers who are either sick or in quarantine or caring for a child whose school has been shut.
Biden proposed companies with less than 500 workers be reimbursed by the government for the full cost of providing the leave.
Keeping essential frontline workers on the job
Biden’s plan to put $50 billion aside for COVID-19 testing would also be used to hire 100,000 public health workers, increasing the community health workforce nearly three-fold.
The funds would also go towards buying rapid tests, expanding lab capacity and helping schools offer regular testing to help support the reopening of schools.
He also proposed putting the $50 billion towards developing COVID-19 mitigation measures at long-term care facilities and prisons where outbreaks have been widely seen.
See more on Biden’s American Rescue Plan in his full video address.