Dhe future American President Joe Biden wants to launch a new corona aid package worth 1.9 trillion dollars (just under 1.6 trillion euros). “During this pandemic, millions of Americans through no fault of their own have lost the dignity and respect that come with a job and a paycheck,” Biden said in a speech to the nation on Thursday evening (local time). “Our nation’s health is at stake,” added the Democrat, who will succeed Donald Trump next week. “We have to act and we have to act now.”
Among other things, direct payments decided in December are to be increased from $ 600 to millions of American citizens to $ 2,000, as his employees previously explained on a conference call with journalists. The additional unemployment benefit is to be extended – until September. The payment is also to be increased from previously 300 to 400 dollars per week. A total of around one trillion dollars in direct aid is earmarked for private households.
Another 415 billion dollars are to be mobilized for the fight against the virus and for the vaccination campaign. $ 440 billion is set to flow to smaller businesses and communities that are particularly hard hit by the pandemic. According to Biden’s employees, the plan also provides for foreclosures and evictions to be suspended until September. Funds for rent and supply assistance are to be provided. The President-elect also wants to urge Congress to raise the national minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.
Payments to citizens are increased
In December, the American Congress launched an aid package worth around $ 900 billion (around 740 billion euros), which also included $ 600 in payments to American citizens. However, in view of the severity of the economic crisis as a result of the corona pandemic, experts criticized the measures as inadequate.
Biden’s “American rescue plan” includes new checks for millions of citizens worth $ 1,400. This will increase the direct payments to a total of $ 2,000. Biden wanted to present his plans in detail on Thursday evening (local time) in his hometown of Wilmington.
Majority in Congress must hold
The 78-year-old Democrat, who will take office next Wednesday, has declared the fight against the corona pandemic to be his most urgent task. For the new aid package, Biden needs the approval of Congress. His Democrats control the House of Representatives and, from next week, also the Senate, but the majority there is extremely tight.
The United States is the country with the highest number of confirmed corona infections and corona deaths worldwide. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 23 million infections have been registered, and more than 387,000 people have died as a result of an infection.
The pandemic has also plunged the American economy into a serious crisis. Millions of people lost their jobs. After easing in the summer, the crisis worsened again in recent months.
In March, in view of the economic crisis, Congress passed the largest aid package in American history, worth $ 2.2 trillion. Funding was topped up in April with a further aid program. After that, Democrats and Republicans argued for months over new aid. The agreement was only reached in December, weeks after the November 3rd presidential election.