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Biden Proposes $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package

January 15, 2021, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated January 14, 11:44 PM
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Joe Biden. Wiki Images.

President-Elect Joe Biden is assuming a different approach toward COVID-19 relief than his predecessor even before officially assuming office, namely by pushing to invest considerably more direct funding to individuals as well as state and local concerns.

Biden announced Thursday that he will move promptly to increase individual citizen stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 after he’s sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 20. His hopes to deliver rely on Congressional support, which appears more likely now as Democrats will officially take control of both the House and the Senate on the day Biden assumes the presidency.

Also included in the President-Elect’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief plan will be extended unemployment benefits of $400 weekly, up from $300, through Sept. 21, 2021. Those benefits are currently set to expire in mid-March.

An extension on a federal eviction moratorium has found a place in the bill, which includes $25 billion in rental assistance and $5 billion to help people square overdue water and energy bills.

Another $350 billion is proposed for direct state and local aid, which would fund initiatives like the rapid antigen testing of trans-Pacific travelers currently taking place at Big Island airports and serving as a second wave of defense against the arrival of coronavirus through tourism and return travel.

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This type of funding had been a sticking point in earlier negotiations between Democrats and Republicans before it was eventually scrapped from the most recently reached deal — a $900 billion relief package, the funds from which are still being disbursed.

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