By Annah Johnson
The House of Representatives has passed a COVID-19 relief bill that would raise the previously decided $600 stimulus to $2,000. As Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocks the measure amidst support from multiple Senate Republicans, the future of the much-awaited relief is even more uncertain.
A $900 billion stimulus package was pushed off for days by President Donald Trump, as he was urging the direct payments to be increased to $2,000. This delay in signing the bill has created a gap in relief and unemployment coverage for many Americans.
President-Elect Joe Biden took to the podium this afternoon to express his support of the stimulus increase, and his concern with Trump’s efforts to assist the American people.
“We’re gonna get through this. Brighter days are coming, but it’s gonna take all of the grit [and] determination we have as Americans to get it done,” said Biden.
Biden lamented the crossing of 337,000 deaths from COVID-19 and warned that many more are anticipated in the coming months, especially following the holidays.
The efforts to distribute vaccines across the country are moving at a painfully slower pace than previously projected. Operation Warp Speed set the goal of 20 million people vaccinated by the end of the year. With that deadline just two days away, there have only been 2.1 million vaccines administered. Biden expressed his frustration with the Trump administration’s progress in distribution and administration of the vaccines.
The Biden Harris administration has set many goals for the first 100 days in office, including vaccinating 100 million people. This would increase over five times the current rate of inoculation. Biden promised a more aggressive effort to administer the vaccines but urged that it will still take months before a majority of the public has access to the vaccine.
“I’m gonna move heaven and earth to get us going in the right direction,” Biden said as he explained his hope to accelerate production, distribution, and administration of the vaccine.
Biden urged the American people to wear a mask and follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and public health officials.
“COVID is a killer in red states and blue states alike,” said Biden.
In reflection on the past injustices carried out in communities of color, Biden promised increased public health education announcements and more widely accessible information regarding the vaccines to respectfully encourage these communities to get vaccinated.
Biden applauded the House of Representatives and members of the Senate for working together to push for bipartisan legislation offering relief to Americans suffering from over nine months of COVID-19 losses and setbacks.
“We are in this together,” said Biden.