Washington | Joe Biden will present Thursday evening a series of economic aid, supposed to allow the United States to emerge from the worst crisis since the 1930s, while millions of Americans are still unemployed.
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The future president has promised “trillions of dollars” and wants to act before he arrives at the White House on January 20.
“It is necessary to spend money now,” he said last week.
An envelope of 900 billion dollars was adopted at the end of December. Insufficient, according to the future host of the White House, who has repeated several times that it would only be a “deposit”.
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He added: “We need more direct support for families and small businesses. “
The Americans, who received at the beginning of January 600 dollars per person subject to income, could therefore receive a new check.
The amount of $ 1,400 is mentioned, in order to bring the total amount to $ 2,000, as the Democrats wished, but also, in an unusual agreement, the outgoing President Donald Trump.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a close friend of the Republican billionaire, sent a letter to Joe Biden on Wednesday, asking him to increase the amount of this check.
“It would send a strong message to the American people if, from the first day of your presidency, you called (Congress) (…) to increase the direct payment”, from 600 to 2,000 dollars, he pleaded. in this mail.
Unemployment assistance should be further extended, as well as support for the payment of rent.
In addition, “tens of billions of dollars” are needed, according to Joe Biden, to allow local and national authorities to maintain the employment of educators, police, firefighters and public health workers. Funds to allow schools to reopen are also essential, according to the Democrat.
The future president could also announce an increase in the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, more than double the current $ 7.25.
“I have been saying for a long time that we must reward work, and not wealth, in this country,” he commented.
It is unclear whether Mr Biden, whose campaign program called for higher taxes for the nation’s largest companies and people earning more than $ 400,000 a year, will bring up the tax.
Another priority: to accelerate the pace of vaccinations against COVID-19, because economists agree that the pace of economic recovery will follow that of the immunization of the population.
But it will take months for restaurants, bars, hotels and even airlines to regain a decent level of activity.
The adoption of the measures wanted by the Democrat, however, rests on Congress, where the Democrats will have a tiny majority, especially in the Senate. The future president cannot therefore afford defections in his camp.
It will be up to Janet Yellen, who is expected to become Secretary of the Treasury – the equivalent of the Minister of Economy and Finance – to lead the negotiations with elected officials on behalf of the government.
The new set of aid aims to prevent the crisis from becoming self-sustaining, with a virus that still restricts the activity of small businesses, causing layoffs, which limits purchasing power, and therefore consumption, and again business activity.
Because if unemployment remained stable in December, at 6.7%, this is the first time since May that the situation has not improved.
About 18 million Americans are still receiving help for unemployment or loss of income, all assistance programs combined.
Unemployment registrations resumed sharply during the first week of January, and 965,000 people were unemployed.
A first stimulus plan, the Cares Act, adopted in less than two weeks at the end of March, when the COVID-19 pandemic had brutally slowed down economic activity, contributed to an increase in public spending.
Aid to the unemployed, loans to small businesses, direct checks to households …: with $ 2.2 trillion released, this was the largest economic support plan in the history of the United States.