President-elect Joe Biden will call for a $1.9 trillion plan to help Americans weather the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic and pump more money into testing and vaccine distribution, according to senior incoming Biden administration officials.
Mr. Biden in a speech Thursday evening plans to lay out priorities related to the pandemic for the early days of his administration. He will urge Congress to back a round of $1,400 per-person direct payments to most households, a $400-per-week unemployment insurance supplement through September, expanded paid leave and increases in the child tax credit. Aid for households makes up about half of the plan’s cost, with much of the rest going to vaccine distribution and state and local governments.
Mr. Biden takes office next Wednesday as the virus death toll has recently topped 4,000 a day and Americans deal with the economic fallout from continued business and school closures. The Senate is also expected to hold a trial after the House impeached President Trump for the second time.
Mr. Biden wants Congress to act quickly to address what he sees as a national emergency, the officials said. The plan includes some ideas previously floated by congressional Democrats and Mr. Biden’s campaign that Republicans have rejected, and it isn’t clear which pieces can become law and how soon lawmakers will act.
Mr. Biden is also expected to release a second proposal focused on economic recovery that will also use jobs and infrastructure as a tool to combat climate change, the officials said.