‘Price tag will be high’ for next COVID bill


President-elect Joe Biden said he will lay out an economic package in the trillions of dollars, including increased direct payments for taxpayers.

“We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting the people $2,000 in relief,” Biden said in remarks Friday in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden said he would detail his plan next Thursday, again calling the package Congress passed at the end of the year “a down payment.”

The president-elect said that “the price tag will be high” for the next coronavirus bill.

The jobs report on Friday showed the U.S. labor market lost jobs in December for the first time since April, as coronavirus cases took an increased toll on many businesses.

“In many ways, the jobs report is a pandemic report,” Biden said, pointing to a “deepened” economic crisis he said reminded him of taking office during the 2009 Great Recession.

“We’re going to get through this,” Biden said. “Help is on the way.”

He also called for funds to aid a vaccination rollout and to reopen schools.

When Biden takes office this month, Democrats will control both chambers of Congress, but only narrowly, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the Senate's tiebreaking vote.

And at least one Democrat has already signaled reservations.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, said he opposed boosting to $2,000 the $600 relief checks approved in the last package, putting him at odds with Biden and the incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Biden said he also hoped to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “People in both parties now recognize, it's time to raise the minimum wage,” he said.

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