Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
Biden: Bleak Future Without Gov't Aid  12/05 09:32

   President-elect Joe Biden is predicting a "bleak future" if Congress doesn't 
take speedy action on a coronavirus aid bill amid a nationwide spike in the 
virus that's hampering the country's economic recovery.

   WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- President-elect Joe Biden is predicting a "bleak 
future" if Congress doesn't take speedy action on a coronavirus aid bill amid a 
nationwide spike in the virus that's hampering the country's economic recovery.

   He also expressed concern that so far he's seen "no detailed plan" from the 
Trump administration on how to distribute an approved coronavirus vaccine, but 
said he and his team are working on their own proposal to fill in the gaps.

   Biden delivered remarks Friday afternoon reacting to November's national 
jobs report, which showed a sharp decrease in U.S. hiring even as the country 
is about 10 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. The Democrat called the 
report "dire" and said it "shows the economy is stalling," but he said quick 
action from Congress can halt some of the damage.

   "If we act now --- I mean now --- we can begin to regain momentum and start 
to build back a better future," he said. "There's no time to lose."

   Surging cases of the virus have led states and municipalities to roll back 
their reopening plans. And more restrictions may be on the way as lower 
temperatures and holiday travel lead to records for confirmed cases and deaths. 
Biden has said that while he doesn't support a nationwide lockdown, he plans to 
ask Americans to commit to 100 days of mask-wearing to help combat the virus as 
one of his first acts as president.

   But one of his major challenges in turning the tide of the coronavirus 
pandemic will be distributing a vaccine. While the Trump administration has 
undertaken some planning around vaccine distribution, Biden said Friday that 
their proposal lacks significant details.

   "There is no detailed plan --- that we've seen, anyway --- as to how you get 
a vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into someone's arm," 
he said.

   The president-elect said that while his team agrees with some of the 
priorities the Trump administration has laid out in its vaccine distribution 
plan, more work needs to be done.

   One of the major questions, Biden added, is how to get the vaccine to 
minority communities, which are disproportionately affected by the virus. He is 
working on an "overall plan," and he asked government infectious-disease expert 
Dr. Anthony Fauci to be part of his COVID-19 team to help with that planning. 
Biden said the distribution alone was a "very expensive proposition."

   That's part of the reason the president-elect has issued calls for Congress 
to take action on a coronavirus relief bill now.

   While he's thrown his support behind a bipartisan economic relief bill of 
about $900 billion, Biden has called it just a "down payment" and has said much 
more will be needed once he takes office next year.

   On Friday, he said he and his team have been consulting with labor leaders, 
CEOs, mayors and governors in crafting their own coronavirus aid bill, which 
will be his first legislative priority as president.

   "The fight against COVID won't be won in January alone," he said.

   Biden expressed optimism that he'll be able to cut a deal with Republicans 
when he takes office, but he's certain to face a heavy lift in navigating any 
bill through a closely divided Senate. Democrats and Republicans have been 
deadlocked on a coronavirus aid bill for months, with Republicans opposed to a 
previous, more expensive bill that passed the House.

   Biden said Friday that he plans to ask Congress for funding for expanded 
testing, vaccine distribution, jobless aid and help for those at risk of 
eviction. He said it will be important to work together with Congress to pass 
additional aid because "the country's going to be in dire, dire, dire straits 
if they don't."

   He also cited his long-standing relationship with Senate Majority Leader 
Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as evidence for his optimism.

   "He knows me," Biden said. "He knows I'm as straight as an arrow when I 
negotiate. He knows I keep commitments and never try to embarrass the 
opposition."

   The coronavirus pandemic will affect more than just Biden's legislative 
focus when he takes office. He said Friday that it's also certain to affect his 
Jan. 20 inauguration and that public health concerns mean he'll have to skip 
some of the traditional festivities that go along with the event.

   He said there likely won't be "a gigantic inaugural parade" down 
Pennsylvania Avenue or "a million people on the Mall" to watch his swearing-in. 
He predicted it would look more like the Democratic National Convention, which 
was largely virtual and broadcast on television and online.

   "First and foremost in my objective is to keep America safe, but still allow 
people to celebrate," Biden said. "To celebrate and see one another 
celebrating."

 
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN