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Biden unveils economic plan tailored by pandemic

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President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his “build back better” economic plan in Wilmington on Monday | DBT FILE PHOTO

WILMINGTON — With more states and cities imposing heavier restrictions and difficult winter weeks ahead, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his economic plan Monday with an estimated 18.6 million new jobs, including “millions of good-paying union jobs” in manufacturing, the technology sector and other industries.

“We’re going to need [those jobs] for the future to compete with the rest of the world,” he said in a televised speech to the country held at The Queen theater in downtown Wilmington. “It’s based on a simple premise: it’s time to reward work, not just wealth in America.”

Earlier on Monday, Biden spoke with top labor leaders and CEOs from retail, automotive and technology companies on the economy and his vision for the future. That vision includes investing $300 billion in emerging technology, much like clean energy research for electric cars, that could create millions of jobs. 

We can make sure our future is made in America,” he said. “From autos to our stockpiles, we’re going to buy American. No government contract will be given to companies that don’t make their products here in America.”

Biden also expressed support for a $15 minimum wage, empowering unions to provide fair wages for workers and “a fair tax system to make sure the wealthiest among us and corporations pay their fair share.”

Biden’s hope is that the coronavirus pandemic will serve as an opportunity for the country to come out of this stronger and more resilient than when it started. But as the United States surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases this week, he did not ignore the dire effects on the American people.

The president-elect urged bipartisan cooperation for the sake of America’s economy and American lives. He would pass the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion stimulus bill that had passed in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in May and was renegotiated in October, but still was stymied by the Republican-controlled Senate.

For millions of Americans who’ve lost hours and wages or have lost jobs, we can deliver immediate relief and it needs to be done quickly,” Biden said. 

Later, he stressed the situation was reaching a tipping point with 20 million Americans unable to make mortgage payments and more unable to pay rent.

Biden also stressed he wanted to see a nationwide mask mandate during the cold days ahead, noting that an estimated 100,000 lives could be saved between today and Jan. 21 the day after his inauguration by wearing masks.

He also warned that more Americans may die from the coronavirus if President Donald Trump continued to block the transition of power and deny Biden any plans for a vaccine roll-out.

In the past week, two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have reported  high effective rates, with Moderna at 94.5% effective and Pfizer around 90% effective, according to preliminary data. Biden welcomed the “great news” but noted that getting more than 300 million Americans vaccinated would be a huge undertaking. 

If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start planning, it puts us behind over a month… so it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now,” he said. 

By Katie Tabeling

[email protected]

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