Biden calls on Congress to act quickly and pass the American Rescue Plan
POTUS is set to tackle all issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic in one single proposal
by: Isti Miskolczy
"We do not have a second to waste when it comes to delivering the American people the relief they desperately need" - tweeted President Joe Biden when he asked Congress to act quickly when passing the American Rescue Plan, which is said to be the "first step of an aggressive, two-step plan for rescue from the depth of this crisis" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the White House, Biden's Rescue Plan is comprised of three main parts.
First, a national vaccination program is to be set up to contain the pandemic - with the vaccines being free of charge. This includes safely reopening the school alongside the establishment of community vaccination sites in all states. One of these already being set up in Glendale, Arizona was virtually visited by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the 8th of January. If approved by Congress, the plan is also to invest in high-quality treatments and testing and tracing as well as provide paid sick leave. To achieve this, Biden will need the required $160 billion in funding to be supported by Congress.
Secondly, financial relief is to be sent to working families in the US. $1,400 per-person checks are to be received by various low-income households across the US. This is to provide direct housing and nutrition assistance as well as help in childcare and healthcare. The extension of the unemployment insurance and the enhancement of the minimum wage are also in this section of the plan alongside eviction moratoriums and frontline workers' protection.
Thirdly, communities struggling due to COVID-19 are to be supported in various ways. Among others with "grants to more than 1 million of the hardest hit small businesses". In sum, these grants would worth around $15 billion. The plan also proposes leveraging "$35 billion in government funds into $175 billion in additional small business lending and investment".
The plan is also said to be "triple the number of community health jobs" and secure personal protective equipment which is not just to create jobs but also to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
"I see enormous pain in this country" - Biden told in a press briefing at the White House.
"Suicides are up, mental health needs are increasing, violence against women and children is increasing. A lot of folks are losing hope." - he added while also pledging fast action, which includes the American Rescue Plan.
Nonetheless, to what extent the approval of the plan is going to be quick depends on the Congress, which just started debating it in the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is said to be hoping to send the plan to the Senate within two weeks.
The article was written on the basis of the following White House briefing document on the matter.