Biden unveils $1.9trn to fight pandemic and spur recovery

15 Jan 21

The US will undertake huge spending as the Joe Biden presidency gets underway, the president-elect has said less than a week ahead of taking office.

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The White House

The White House, Washington DC, USA. Image © istock

Biden, who will be inaugurated on 20 January, outlined some of his spending plans to combat the health and economic crises caused by Covid-19, saying the country “cannot afford inaction”.

“It’s not just that smart fiscal investments, including deficit spending, are more urgent than ever,” he said.

“It’s that the return on these investments – in jobs, in racial equity – will prevent long-term economic damage and the benefits will far surpass the costs.

“A growing number of top economists have shown even our debt situation will be more stable, not less stable, if we seize this moment with vision and purpose.”

Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’ includes $400bn of spending on vaccinations, measures to open schools safely and payments to quarantining workers who have Covid-19 symptoms.

The plan also includes $1,400 payments to most people, and an extra $100 per month to the 18 million people who are relying on unemployment insurance payments.

Biden said billions of dollars would be spent on making sure hungry children are properly fed, and that he plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

He also said $350bn will be given to state and local governments, whose finances have suffered during the pandemic.

The incoming president added that a further ‘Build Back Better Recovery Plan’ will be outlined next month, and will include “historic investments” in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and development and clean energy.

“It’s time to stop talking about infrastructure and finally start building it,” Biden said.

These measures would be partly paid for by closing tax loopholes and “asking everyone to pay their fair share”.

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