U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden Introduces $1.9-Trillion Stimulus Bill

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9-trillion COVID-19 "rescue package" aimed at supporting households and businesses through the remainder of the pandemic.

The proposal, called the "American Rescue Plan," includes several familiar stimulus measures in the hope that the additional fiscal support will sustain U.S. families and firms until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available.

Biden’s plan includes the following:

Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including December’s $600 payments.

Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September.

Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September.

$350 billion in state and local government aid.

$170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education.

$50 billion toward COVID-19 testing.

$20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes.

Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age six).

Biden’s plan is the first of two major spending initiatives expected to be unveiled in the first few months of his presidency. The second spending bill, expected in February, will tackle the president-elect’s longer-term goals of creating jobs, reforming infrastructure, combating climate change and advancing racial justice.

Most economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, warn that additional relief funding and economic stimulus is needed to help businesses stay afloat until the broader population has access to COVID-19 vaccines.

As of Thursday, the virus had killed more than 384,000 Americans, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.