Calling the November jobs report “grim” and “deeply troubling,” President-elect Joe Biden warned of a wave of holiday season evictions unless Congress and Donald Trump strike a Covid-19 relief deal soon.
Without more help from Washington, he said, the country will be in a “dire, dire, dire” economic situation. “We’re looking at hundreds of billions of dollars” of total additional stimulus as Congress moves towards a bipartisan $900m measure it could pass as early as next week – but probably closer to Christmas.
“I know times are tough,” he said, calling the pandemic circumstances “daunting.”
He spoke as the virus is again ripping through most US states, with hospitals in some areas saying they already are overwhelmed.
Without new action, the economic situation will become “very bleak,” he said.
The president-elect raised major concerns about the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine plan his team will inherit on 20 January.
For instance, he said the current administration seems to have “no detailed plan for how you get a vaccine out of a container .. and into somebody’s arm.”
Trump administration officials have signaled state and local officials best know their areas and should take the lead on the final steps of getting people inoculated.
Specifically, he highlighted Black and Latino communities, which have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic.
A major part of the Trump administration’s distribution plan is to use big box pharmacies like CVS to put needles in arms.
But relying on those chains alone, he said of Black- and Latino-heavy areas, “does not get you to many of these neighborhoods.”
“The equity part,” he added, “of this has to be an important part.”
Overall, he said if lawmakers and Mr Trump fail to strike a deal before 25 December, 12m Americans will loose jobless benefits.
“Merry Christmas,” he said grimly.
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