President Joe Biden announced Monday a $350 billion recovery fund for states and local governments in the US.
Speaking from the White House, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden said the fund will allow for a “substantial infusion of resources” in the response to the pandemic and offers “broad flexibility” for state and local authorities to decide how best to apply it.
This $350 billion, channeled through the Treasury Department, is part of the third fiscal rescue package approved by Congress in February, worth $1.9 trillion.
Of the total, $195 billion will go to the states and $130 billion to local governments in the US.
Biden’s remarks follow April’s disappointing unemployment data, when the rate rose one-tenth of a percent to 6.1% and 260,000 jobs were created, well below analysts’ estimates of one million new jobs. Some specialists have commented that the disappointing figure is due to the Biden administration’s heavy intervention in the economy and its plan to radically increase taxes.
“I never said that getting out of this deep hole was going to be simple, or easy or immediate,” said the president, who stressed that to support economic recovery it is “essential” that Congress approve his $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment plan, which would further increase the bloated public debt.
For now, however, they have been met with frontal opposition from Republicans who consider it “excessive.”
According to Labor Department data, the American economy still has 8.2 million fewer jobs than in February 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic hit the country.
The United States, the hardest hit nation in the world with more than 580,000 deaths, already has more than a third of the population fully vaccinated, and Biden expects 70% to be fully vaccinated by early July.