WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden will deliver remarks Thursday about his planned vaccination and economic rescue legislative package to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.© Provided by NBC News
The Biden transition team says the package would fund Covid-19 vaccinations and provide immediate relief to working families and communities suffering during this pandemic. Biden, who takes office Wednesday, is expected to call on both parties in Congress to act on his proposals quickly.
His speech comes as the pandemic continues to worsen. According to NBC News’ Covid-19 data tracker, there have been 384,375 deaths and more than 23 million cases in the U.S.
The Trump administration has been heavily criticized for its distribution strategy for the vaccines. As of Wednesday, of the more than 29 million vaccine doses distributed nationwide, just over 10 million people have received their first dose, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
As for passing his proposed legislative package through Congress, Biden will still need Republican support despite Democrats taking control of the Senate since the measure will require 60 votes to advance to a final vote. The Senate will be split between both parties 50-50 once Georgia’s Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are sworn in. As vice president, Kamala Harris will be able to cast tie-breaking votes.
In other transition news, Biden’s team announced key participants Thursday for the swearing-in on Inauguration Day on Wednesday at the Capitol:
- Lady Gaga is set to perform the National Anthem;
- Jennifer Lopez is scheduled for the musical performance;
- Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a Jesuit Catholic Priest, and Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman, Wilmington A.M.E. pastor, both friends of the Bidens, will deliver the invocation and benediction, respectively;
- National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman will do a poetry reading and a local chapter president for the International Association of Fire Fighters Andrea Hall will lead the pledge of allegiance.
In addition, the Biden transition said the president-elect received a briefing from senior officials at the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and key members of his national security team.
“The team is engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture, and on the preparations being put in place to deter and defend against violent disruptions or attacks.”