Biden to lay out groundwork for pandemic economic relief package next week

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks as he announces members of economics and jobs team at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) -U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said the U.S. jobs report on Friday shows Americans need more immediate and direct relief from the coronavirus pandemic and that taking action now will help the economy even with deficit financing.

Democrat Biden said the bipartisan COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress in December was a very important step, but amounted to just a “down payment” on broader efforts needed to help Americans. The package included $600 checks but Biden wants the amount increased to $2,000.

“Economic research confirms that with conditions like the crisis today, especially with such low interest rates, taking immediate action – even with deficit financing – is going to help the economy, long term and short term, reduce scarring in the workforce, increase growth and reduce our national debt burden,” Biden told reporters as he announced his nominees to head the Commerce and Labor departments.

Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, said he would map out plans for the stimulus package next week, including efforts to ensure quicker distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

“We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people that $2,000 relief direct payment. $600 is simply not enough,” he said.

He said action was needed to help Americans get to the other side of the health and economic crisis, and to “avoid a broader economic cost that exists out there, that will happen due to long term unemployment, hunger, homelessness and business failings.”

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