“Otherwise, there’s no detailed plan we’ve seen on how to get the vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into someone’s arm,” Biden said at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.
“It will be very difficult to do this and it is a very expensive proposal,” Biden said. He remarked, “Much more needs to be done.”
Biden stressed the importance of a fair distribution of the vaccine across the country, noting that black and Hispanic people infected with the virus died disproportionately more than whites. He said his team is also working to get healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities to receive the vaccine first, as recently advised by the U.S. Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The president-elect said the Senate’s bipartisan efforts would spur the $ 900 billion aid package, but noted that any package passed by Congress in the lame duck session would not be enough.
“I think they are on track to produce a package that meets the basic needs we have, but I made it clear, it’s just an advance. It’s not over yet. Business,” Biden said. CNN reported on the president-elect and his team is preparing to call for an ambitious new incentive bill after taking office on 20 January.
Biden did not answer whether he had approached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a compromise incentive bill. “We’ll be in serious trouble if we don’t cooperate. I believe it will be,” Biden said when asked if he had spoken to McConnell.
McConnell’s office declined to comment on whether the two men actually spoke. Two other senior assistants who have close ties to the majority leader also said they were unaware that McConnell and Biden had spoken.
The president-elect said it would be “better” if the package included a $ 1,200 stimulus check, adding, “I understand it could still be in play.”
“The goal is to make sure people aren’t thrown out of their homes, they don’t lose their homes, they can afford unemployment insurance, and they continue to feed their families while we abuse the economy.” said Biden.
The U.S. economy provided 245,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday. That number was 224,000 less than economists had expected, and there was a huge slowdown in 610,000 new jobs in October.
Biden described Friday’s workplace report as “gloomy” and said: “This is an economy that is coming to a halt and we are in the midst of one of the worst economic and workplace crises in modern history.”
“But it doesn’t have to stay that way,” Biden said. He urged Congress to take immediate action to make it easier for Americans to economically, saying if Congress and President Donald Trump do not act by the end of December, millions of Americans will lose the unemployment benefits they rely on.
The president warned that inaction “could lead to much wider economic costs due to long-term unemployment and business failure.”
“The sooner we exceed funding, the sooner we can turn to Covid-19.” said Biden. He stressed the importance of significant funding for vaccinations and tests so that schools and businesses could reopen safely.
In his upcoming inauguration, Biden said he would take into account the advice of public health experts to keep people safe and curb the spread of the virus across the country. He said Americans should expect to see something closer to what the Democratic National Convention looked like, which was almost completely virtual.
“It’s very unlikely that a million people in the (National) Mall would go all the way to the (Lincoln) Memorial,” Biden said. He thought there would be a “gigantic inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Avenue.”
He said his team is consulting with the House and Senate leadership on their plans, as well as people who have helped bring about a democratic convention.
This story was updated with additional information from Biden’s speech.
CNN Manu Raju contributed to the report.