The U.S President Joe Biden announced Tuesday new measures of economic relief and acceleration of the distribution of vaccines against covid-19 with the aim of resuming the initiative after the end of the impeachment of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Biden will travel tonight to Milwaukee (Wisconsin), in his first official trip within the US, where he will participate in a meeting with citizens organized by the CNN television network in which he will explain his plans to fight the coronavirus pandemic and his proposed economic rescue of 1.9 million dollars.
“The president will answer questions directly from U.S. citizens about the issues they face every day such as covid-19 and the economy,” the White House said in a statement.
The president, who took office last January 20, has seen his first days in power partially overshadowed by the second impeachment trial against Trump, who was finally acquitted on Saturday of the charge of “incitement to insurrection” for the violent assault on the Capitol last January 6.
MORTGAGES AND VACCINES
Biden has tried to distance himself from the tension generated by the trial, but the tense and highly polarized Senate proceedings have taken legislative attention away from his top political priority: the passage of the new bailout package.
On Tuesday, the president extended mortgage relief and a moratorium on evictions through the end of June to help citizens facing problems keeping up with payments amid the pandemic-driven economic crisis.
“The covid-19 pandemic has caused a crisis in affordable housing affordability. Now, homeowners will receive urgently needed help in this unprecedented national emergency,” the White House said in a statement announcing the new executive orders.
These programs, launched during the administration of former President Donald Trump, were scheduled to expire at the end of March.
According to official data, about 10 million homeowners face problems to keep up with their mortgage payments.
Likewise, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki reported in her daily press conference the increase in available vaccinations to 13.5 million per week, which is 57% more than at the end of January.
With this, the weekly vaccination rate could rise to 1.9 million inoculations per day.
FOCUS RETURNS TO THE RESCUE PLAN
Now freed from the Trump trial, Congress will focus on Biden’s ambitious fiscal stimulus proposal.
The proposal encompasses the distribution of $1,400 checks to taxpayers, an additional $400 weekly unemployment benefit and $350 billion to help state and municipal governments.
Current unemployment benefits expire in mid-March, so Biden and the Democrats have set that date as the deadline for moving the legislation forward.
Although both Republicans and Democrats agree on the need to increase support for citizens given the magnitude of the economic crisis, conservatives consider the proposed $1.9 trillion to be excessive.
Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed his doubts about it, calling the $1.9 trillion figure “quite staggering”.
A week ago, a group of Republicans, including Romney, presented a much more modest $600 billion alternative proposal, which Democrats consider insufficient.
The U.S. Congress approved two fiscal rescue packages in 2020: the first in March, worth $2.2 trillion; and the second in December, for $900 billion.
The U.S. is the country most affected by covid-19 in the world, with more than 27.6 million cases and more than 486,000 deaths.