Washington, D.C. — Today, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his first legislative package — the American Rescue Plan — to get control of the coronavirus pandemic and provide critical financial relief to the American people, states and localities, and small businesses. Mara Rudman, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the proposal:
As the United States sets new daily records for COVID-19 cases and deaths and economic data reveal the pain continuing to grip American families, businesses, and states and localities, the need for immediate action to crush the virus is self-evident.
In putting forward a package of consensus ideas—complete with money for vaccine distribution, testing, contact tracing, and schools, as well as other policies such as paid leave and unemployment insurance that are proven to slow the spread of the virus—President-elect Biden is sending a clear signal to the American people that his administration is committed to taking swift action to bring this public health crisis to a close. The proposal rightly recognizes the inequitable effects the virus has had on women, who have disproportionately been pushed out of the workforce in the face of school and child care closures, as well as Black and Latinx Americans, who have been infected with and died from COVID-19 at far higher rates, and who are disproportionately likely to be unemployed.
It is going to take time to rectify the Trump administration’s disastrous pandemic response, in particular the failure to effectively distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines, but this proposal makes clear that the days of measuring the success of recovery based on the value of the stock market and telling states that they are on their own during this time of crisis are over. To save countless lives and businesses and get our students back to the classroom, Congress should move swiftly to provide this necessary relief.
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