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Biden will 'shut down virus' before tackling economy

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden

REUTERS

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden

President-elect Joe Biden yesterday outlined his plans to boost the US economy but said any structural reforms depend first on reining in the coronavirus pandemic.

"Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before," Mr Biden said.

He spoke about his plans to invest in infrastructure, technology and clean energy jobs, and create American manufacturing jobs by encouraging companies to make their products in the US.

The president-elect also said that unions would have more power under his administration, and he emphasized the contributions that unions have made to the middle class.

Before he can pursue any large-scale reforms, Mr Biden will first have to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens to cause further damage as cases spike across the country.

Sidestep

One of his first major decisions related to the economy when he takes office will be whether to push a version of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.

The president-elect has tried to sidestep the question, focusing most of his public remarks on encouraging Americans to wear masks and embrace social distancing measures.

But members of his coronavirus advisory board have been more specific.

One member, Michael Osterholm, recently suggested a four or six-week national lockdown with financial aid for Americans whose livelihoods would be affected.

He later walked back the remarks and was rebutted by two other members of the panel who said a widespread lockdown shouldn't be under consideration. Speaking to CBS, Mr Osterholm was not asked about a lockdown, but said the nation needs "a standard set of principles."


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