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Statement: Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Proposal Is a Strong Start

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President-elect Joe Biden today released an outline of his COVID-19 relief proposal. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“This is what it looks like to have a president who takes seriously the pandemic and its devastating impact on America. The $1.9 trillion Biden proposal prioritizes funding to deal with the public health crisis, including to ensure expedited deployment of vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic. It gets money directly into the wallets of Americans by increasing direct payments to Americans making less than $100,000, increases unemployment compensation. It addresses the social wreckage caused by COVID-19 and the pitiful Trump administration response, including addressing housing, hunger and mental health crises. It provides schools the funding they need to reopen safely; and it prioritizes the needs of communities of color who have borne the brunt of the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Of course, the package is not perfect. Notably, it could provide better and cheaper health care coverage by expanding Medicare to cover those who have lost health insurance, rather than by relying on the expensive option of covering COBRA costs.

“This proposal is by no means all that needs to be done, as President-elect Biden will emphasize. Getting the nation out of the pandemic hole will require trillions more in spending. But this proposal is a strong start.

“With some improvements around the edges, there is no reason for this package not to pass the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, immediately, with unanimous support.”