Biden releases plan to boost economy amid coronavirus pandemic

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Biden to host 'virtual fireside chat' with donors Esper faces tough questions on dismissal of aircraft carrier's commander MORE on Thursday released his plan for bolstering an economy that's been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal outlines how the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination would implement the Senate-passed $2 trillion rescue package that's designed to help workers and businesses of all sizes.

“The United States Senate just reached a deal on a major economic relief package. It’s a very important step and includes support for families and small businesses, the very things I’ve been calling for for a while now,” Biden said in a video. “And when it passes, the key will be its execution.”

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One component of Biden's plan would use “all available authorities,” including the Defense Production Act, to curb the spread of COVID-19. Biden also said he would increase testing capacity and the ability to trace contacts if someone tests positive, in addition to making critical equipment like ventilators and personal protective equipment more available to sites of new outbreaks.

On the economic front, Biden said he would accelerate aid to businesses that vow to keep their workers employed, expedite the delivery of unemployment insurance, pressure banks to provide loans to small businesses and lean on large companies seeking taxpayer assistance to emphasize “that they need to make hard commitments that the assistance will go toward their workers.”

The former vice president said distribution of funds would be overseen by a task force “reporting directly to me to make sure every dollar going out the door gets to the people who need it — fast.”

Biden added that he would then work with Congress to craft the next phase of legislation, which he said would include additional direct payments to families, the forgiveness of a minimum of $10,000 per person of federal student loans and boosts to Social Security checks and emergency paid sick leave.

The plan put forth by Biden comes after marathon negotiations in the Senate produced the largest economic relief bill in history. The spending package includes a one-time $1,200 check for individuals making up to $75,000 a year or $2,400 for couples earning less than $150,000, four months of bolstered unemployment benefits, a $500 billion corporate liquidity fund and $100 billion for hospitals.

“Joe Biden knows that no economic strategy will work if we don’t stop the virus. In recent days, there’s been talk that we have to choose between public health and our economy. That’s not just a false choice. It’s a dangerous one,” his campaign said in a statement, referencing President TrumpDonald John TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' MORE's stated desire to reopen the economy by Easter, April 12.

Biden has sought to project leadership in recent days while his campaign has been largely sidelined during the coronavirus crisis. With the former vice president staying at his Delaware home and much of his staff teleworking, the campaign has increasingly turned to shadow briefings on COVID-19 and media appearances to boost Biden’s profile.