President-elect Joe Biden's nearly $2-trillion-dollar virus recovery package features billions in direct funding for a COVID-19 response - as well as state aid to reopen schools shut by the pandemic.
School And State Aid
The education sector has struggled in 2020 to reopen schools owing to fears of school-related transmissions.
Biden's package dedicates $350 billion for local and state governments that include funds for school reopenings - including $130 billion just for safety measures.
The goal is to help schools reopen within 100 days while ensuring the safety of both students and staff.
The U.S. remains the world's worst affected country and Biden's package highlights the need for widespread vaccination and testing.
With $400 billion in funding to battle the pandemic, the money is expected to hasten vaccine distribution and testing for vulnerable groups and health care workers.
In particular, Biden's package encourages spending of $20 billion for a national vaccination program that should see community treatment facilities and mobile units for rural areas.
The plan also provides funds for expanded laboratory capacity so testing can be conducted faster. There is $50 billion for COVID-19 testing improvement.
Stimulus Checks And Unemployment Aid
Probably the most anticipated aspect of Biden's spending proposal is the next round of stimulus checks.
In Biden's plan, those eligible will receive another $1,400 each in addition to the $600 distributed earlier this month. People who missed earlier rounds will receive the payments.
Biden's proposal won't leave out spouses of undocumented immigrants whose Social Security Numbers didn't appear in the system.
The proposal on household aid highlights inclusivity for residents of the U.S. who have mixed immigration status.
The unemployed were also included in Biden's deal: the plan seeks $400 weekly in provisions for the jobless. Exhausted payments under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will see payments extended through September.
Other Key Points
While stimulus payments were the highlight of Biden's plan the proposal includes other aspects in helping economic recovery.
The president-elect's package includes $25 billion in rental assistance for low- and moderate-income households whose working family members lost their jobs at the height of COVID-19.
Biden is seeking to advance the Child Tax Credit to $3,600, temporarily, for children 6 years and younger. Children between 6 year and 17 years will see their credits climb to $3,000 for the next 12 months.
Small businesses could see more assistance under a new $15-billion grant program.