In selling his proposal, Biden once again called for the country to unite — a theme he has focused on since the beginning of his presidential campaign but a goal that has seemed increasingly difficult in recent weeks, particularly after a pro-Trump mob overran the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday in a violent siege that resulted in the deaths of one police officer and four rioters.
“Unity is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. It’s a practical step to getting the things we have to get done as a country, get done together,” Biden said Thursday.
Biden’s plan calls for $400 billion aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic, including $20 billion for a universal vaccination program. On Thursday, Biden blasted the vaccine rollout that had taken place under the Trump administration as “a dismal failure thus far” and vowed to “move heaven and earth to get people vaccinated,” with an initial goal of 100 million shots administered in his first 100 days in office.
His plan also calls for more than $1 trillion in relief to families and $440 billion in aid to communities and businesses.
Without mentioning Trump by name, Biden promised repeatedly that he would handle the pandemic and its economic fallout differently.
“There will always be stumbles, but I will always be honest with you about the progress we’re making and what setbacks we will have,” Biden said.
And without explicitly noting that he will likely face pushback from Republicans, as well as the hyperpartisan environment in Congress and in the country right now, Biden cited a “moral imperative” to act.
“Now I know what I just described does not come cheaply. But failure to do so will cost us dearly. The consensus among economists is we simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing,” Biden said.
Biden closed his remarks with a call for unity as the only way forward for the future of the country.
“We didn’t get into all this overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight. And we can’t do it as a separate and divided nation,” Biden said. “The only way we can do it is to come together, to come together as fellow Americans, as neighbors, as the United States of America.”