Jan. 15 (UPI) — President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled plans for streamlining COVID-19 vaccinations nationwide and a new stimulus package including another direct payment to Americans.
Biden detailed a two-part plan during a speech from Wilmington, Del., pledging to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccines by the 100th day of his administration and provide $1,400 payments to Americans.
“It’s not hard to see that we are in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis, with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis,” he said. “The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now.”
Biden said his plan would seek to allocate funds to help launch a national vaccination program. He called the current administration’s vaccine rollout “a dismal failure.”
“We’ll have to move heaven and Earth to get more people vaccinated, to create more places for them to get vaccinated, to mobilize more medical teams to get shots in people’s arms, to increase vaccine supply and get it out the door as quickly as possible,” he said.
Additionally, the plan would seek to provide funding to provide America’s K-8 schools with increased testing and transportation, additional cleaning and sanitizing services, protective equipment and ventilation systems to allow them to fully reopen safely.
Biden said his plan would provide $1,400 in direct payments to Americans — fulfilling Democrats’ goal in the last stimulus plan to issue $2,000 checks.
“We will finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in cash relief to the people who need it the most. The $600 already appropriated is simply not enough,” he said.
Most Americans began receiving a second direct payment of $600 last month after a compromise package was passed in Congress. Proposals to raise the amount to $2,000 had bipartisan support in Congress but was blocked by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
The president-elect also said he would provide additional unemployment insurance payments of $400 per week and push to raise the national minimum wage to $15, as well as quarantine workers infected with the virus and allow workers paid time to care for their sick family members.