Biden on Covid Rescue Plan: ‘We Have to Act Now’

Date: 2021-01-29 19:13:23

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The Biden administration says it’s taking creative steps to get broader public support for its $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan. That’s as attempts to strike a deal with Republicans have led to concerns about delays in coronavirus relief.

President Joe Biden and his new treasury secretary said Friday that the cost of doing too little is much greater than the cost of doing and spending too much.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Biden said the $1.9 trillion price tag of his stimulus package is a bargain compared to the potential damage to the world’s largest economy.

“We have learned from past crises that the risk is not doing too much,” Biden said. “The risk is not doing enough.”

Yellen reversed his statement to make the same point.

“The price of doing nothing is much higher than the price of doing something and doing something big,” she said. “We need to act now.”

The standoff over Biden’s first legislative priority is turning the new rescue plan into a political test — of his new administration, of Democratic control of Congress and of the role of Republicans in a post-Trump political landscape.

Success would give Biden a signature accomplishment in his first 100 days in office, unleashing $400 billion to expand vaccinations and to reopen schools, $1,400 direct payments to households, and other priorities, including a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Failure would be a high-profile setback early in his presidency.

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