WILMINGTON | United States President-elect Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he would ask Congress next year to vote on a new plan to support the US economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he was convinced he could find a compromise with the opposition.
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At a press conference in his city of Wilmington (northeast), he estimated that the $ 900 billion plan voted on Monday by parliamentarians was “a first step”, but that it would not be enough.
“Congress did its job this week. And I can and I must ask them to do it again next year, ”he said.
After months of blockage, Democrats and Republicans on Monday approved measures including checks to the most vulnerable families, aid to small businesses and schools, additional unemployment benefits of $ 300 per week or an envelope for fair distribution COVID-19 vaccines.
But the elected president warned that it was “only a first step, a deposit. There’s still much to do “.
“We have to work in a bipartisan fashion. This is the only way we will get out of it, ”he added, echoing his message of unifying the country after four years of presidency of Donald Trump which, according to him, have deepened the divisions.
Joe Biden, used to the aisles of power in Washington after more than 35 years on the benches of the Senate (1973-2009) and eight years as vice-president, said he was convinced to succeed in reaching an agreement with the opposition, because “Democrats and Republicans in Congress have already assumed their responsibilities” by voting this massive aid plan Monday evening.
His plan includes the continued distribution of vaccines throughout the country by the fall of 2021, which will cost “billions of dollars more”, new aid for the unemployed and businesses that have closed their doors , as well as a new moratorium on evictions for delinquency of tenants and landlords.
The fact that Donald Trump is no longer in the White House to criticize discussions with the Republican opposition, which could retain control of the Senate, “also increases the chances of getting things done,” said the future president.
“There are still people who do not want to help” to solve the economic and health crisis, he admitted, “but the vast majority of Congress will, I think, be able to solve these specific problems which are of national importance ”.
The agreement reached in the Senate shows that “these problems go beyond any ideology,” as the economic crisis caused by the epidemic is hitting voters on all sides, Biden said.
Unlike Donald Trump, who has long played down the severity of the pandemic, he promised Americans to “tell the truth”.
“The darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind,” he warned.
Negotiations on the next aid plan are a matter of “life and death,” he said, as the coronavirus has claimed nearly 320,000 lives in the United States.