US President Joe Biden is putting turning all the spotlight on himself as he puts more focus on the country’s recovery in various aspects as talks of Trump’s impeachment trial dies down.
For one, Biden is hopeful that most schools in the US will start opening by late spring as he vowed to continue pushing forward the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Not only that, Biden is also aiming to build public support for his US$1.9 tril COVID-19 relief plan that is still pending congressional action.
“Now’s the time to go big. If we pass this bill alone, we’ll create seven million jobs this year,” he said during a CNN prime-time broadcast.
With the US Senate having acquitted former President Trump in his second impeachment trial on Saturday, the White House is eager to press ahead with Biden’s proposals on the economy, COVID-19, climate change and racial inequality.
Biden again made clear he would prefer to turn the page on the divisive Trump era.
“For four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump,” Biden said. “The next four years, I want to make sure all the news is the American people. I’m tired of talking about Trump. He’s gone.”
He also said he believed teachers should be moved closer to the front of the line for inoculation.
“I think that we should be vaccinating teachers – we should move them up in the hierarchy,” Biden said, although he noted that states, not the federal government, have the authority to decide how to prioritise vaccinations.
Biden said he expected everyone who wanted a vaccine would be able to get one by July, when his administration will have secured enough shots to inoculate all Americans.
But he also warned that the recovery from the pandemic that has killed more than 485,000 people in the United States would still take many months and urged people to wear masks, maintain social distance and wash hands for the foreseeable future.
The US President has also been expressing the importance of a new relief bill even as Republicans remain largely opposed to its massive price tag.
Biden wants Congress to pass the legislation in the coming weeks in order to get US$1,400 stimulus checks out to Americans and bolster unemployment payments.
Some aspects of the bill, including Biden’s push to increase the minimum wage to US$15 an hour by 2025, may have a difficult time gaining enough support to pass. – Feb 17, 2021