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Biden Outlines $1.9 Trillion Spending Package to Combat Virus and Downturn

The president-elect detailed plans for an initial effort to fight the coronavirus and a subsequent one to address economic recovery.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.  on Thursday unveiled a $1.9 trillion spending package aimed at combating the health and economic crises of the coronavirus pandemic.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday unveiled a $1.9 trillion spending package aimed at combating the health and economic crises of the coronavirus pandemic.Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to combat the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, outlining the type of sweeping aid that Democrats have demanded for months and signaling the shift in the federal government’s pandemic response as Mr. Biden prepares to take office.

The package includes more than $400 billion to combat the pandemic directly, including money to accelerate vaccine deployment and to safely reopen most schools within 100 days. Another $350 billion would help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls, while the plan would also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, more generous unemployment benefits, federally mandated paid leave for workers and large subsidies for child care costs.

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“During this pandemic, millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck,” Mr. Biden said in a speech to the nation. “There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”

He acknowledged the high price tag but said the nation could not afford to do anything less. “The very health of our nation is at stake,” Mr. Biden said, adding that it “does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly.”

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