President-elect Joe Biden endorsed a bipartisan $908 coronavirus stimulus proposal saying it “wouldn’t be the answer” but would provide relief.
Biden gave the endorsement at a virtual roundtable of workers and small-business owners that have been affected by the coronavirus. The former vice president called out Congress to pass a relief bill during the lame-duck session that would “at best be only a down payment,” on a more comprehensive package when Biden takes office.
During the roundtable, Biden admitted his own limitations in getting a bill passed before he takes office. As small-business told Biden of their hardships and hanging on by threads, Biden told the attendees “To state the obvious, my ability to get you help immediately does not exist,” according to Bloomberg.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both endorsed the coronavirus stimulus proposal, saying it should help negotiations with Republicans. However, the one person Americans need to endorse it, has already declined to.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell shot down the proposal in favor of his idea of a piecemeal bill, much like the one he proposed in September that Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrats blocked.
Biden believes any coronavirus stimulus package passed before he is sworn in as president should include an extension of unemployment insurance, small-business relief, aid for cities and states and an eviction moratorium.
The president-elect blamed Republicans for the stalemate, saying they’re more focused on making sure businesses aren’t liable if they stay open and someone gets sick. Biden was also critical of how relief programs worked during the first relief package.
Biden slammed big banks for ignoring small businesses in favor of large clients, who took money and were shamed into giving it back.
“One of the big problems was that help went to a lot of people who didn’t need the help,” he said at the roundtable. “It didn’t go to the people who badly needed it early on. Some of it did, but not nearly what it should have.”
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 14 million Americans and has killed more than 280,000. The Centers for Disease Control said the death toll could reach 300,000 in less than two weeks. Additionally, more than 700,000 Americans filed for unemployment for the first time last week and more than 5 million Americans are still without a job.