U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks about his plan to administer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the U.S. population during a news conference at Biden’s transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., January 15, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion emergency relief package released Thursday evening includes $1,400 checks and aid for the unemployed, hungry and those facing eviction, but it also sets aside $20 billion for what could be the real cure to our economic woes: a national vaccination program.

Biden’s American Rescue Plan calls for launching community vaccination centers around the country and mobile units in hard-to-reach areas, as well as more federal support to vaccinate Medicaid enrollees. The plan also invests $50 million in testing, including a boost for schools so they can reopen, and funding for 100,000 community health care workers. 

Biden picked former Food and Drug Administration chief David Kessler Friday to lead Operation Warp Speed. Kessler has advised Biden since the outbreak. Moncef Slaoui, the program’s current director, will stay on as a consultant. 

States remained skeptical that Biden will reach his stated goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days of office. State officials remain unclear on details of the plan, including those for mass vaccination sites, and they wonder if there’s even 100 million vaccines available. Biden’s plan does include $350 million in aid to state and local governments that are strapped for cash even after cutting budgets to the bone from losing millions in tax revenue. 

Help is needed, as more Americans are dying of COVID-19 than at any time during the pandemic, and retail sales slumped for the third month in a row in December, an anomaly considering the holiday season. 

“There’s no time to waste,” Biden said Thursday. “We have to act, and we have to act now.” 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Stephen Moore: Biden’s $1.9 trillion ‘rescue plan’ could destroy 4 million jobs — here’s a better idea – Fox News – 1/14/2021
So now here we go again with a second kick of the mule. Actually, it is the third, fourth or fifth kick. Trump and Congress have already approved nearly $3 trillion on pandemic spending. The Biden proposal would bring the total spending for the pandemic to about $5 trillion.

Fact-checking Biden’s speech on his coronavirus economic relief plan – Washington Post – 1/15/2021
When we queried the Biden-Harris transition team, we received citations for each factoid within 15 minutes — setting a standard for a response that we hope is maintained. The Trump White House, of course, rarely responded to such queries, generally because the president’s claims almost never could be supported.

That’s a Lot of Money – New York Times – 1/15/2021
President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan yesterday, an ambitious package of bigger direct payments to Americans, extra funding for coronavirus vaccine distribution and more. The move is a bolder response than the Obama administration’s to the 2008 financial crisis — even if it runs up debt to dizzying levels.

Republicans in Congress are starting to oppose Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package, dampening odds of smooth passage for new stimulus checks – Business Insider – 1/15/2021
Congressional Republicans are assailing its large price tag as well as a measure to more than double the current federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas called it “another economic blind buffalo that does nothing to save Main Street businesses, get people back to work, or strengthen our economy” in a statement on Thursday evening.

$2,000 Checks Now—And Make Them Monthly – In These Times – 1/14/2021
“It’s not hyperbole, you can change America,” President-elect Joe Biden told Georgia voters ahead of the January 5 runoff Senate elections. And they have. Not only did Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s wins hand Democrats control of the Senate, but the election served as a clear referendum on voters’ demand for increased stimulus payments directly to the American people.

Joe Biden’s $2T COVID relief package includes progressive wish list – Axios – 1/14/2021
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste — and President-elect Joe Biden, emboldened by Democratic Senate victories in Georgia, signaled in his speech Thursday night he has no intention of wasting this one.

Bidenomics Begins with $1.9 Trillion Spending Package – Liberty Nation – 1/15/2021
Joe Biden has released his plans for an emergency relief package; the proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, has a price-tag of $1.9 trillion. It includes direct income support payments of $1,400, which raises the stimulus checks to $2,000. His plan also boosts the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, increases the federal per-week jobless benefit to $400 until the end of September, and extends moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures until September. Tens of billions of dollars more will be earmarked for state and local governments, education, and COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

2009 Redux? Biden Cites ‘Urgent’ Need for His $1.9T Stimulus – Real Clear Politics – 1/15/2021
The economy was bad, and the White House planned to go big. On the day the mammoth $800 billion Recovery Act became law, however, the new president took care to stress how his administration would keep a close eye on every dollar going out the door. This task of providing oversight, Barack Obama announced at the bill’s 2009 signing ceremony, would go to Joe Biden.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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