Biden introduces relief plan as congress begins Trump 'show trial'
William Jones

Editor's note: William Jones is a Washington-based political analyst and a non-resident fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. The article reflects the author's views, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

A sense of reality has entered into the political scene in Washington as President-elect Joe Biden presented a $1.9 trillion plan for fighting COVID-19, sending relief to the battered U.S. economy. This occurs just days after the Democratic Congress, eager to get revenge for four years of President Donald Trump, whom most representatives never accepted as being duly elected by the American people, are putting on what can only be characterized as a "show trial."

President-elect Biden is taking office in a country that is bitterly divided, a divide which can only widen as a result of the foolish measures taken by the Democrat House. But Biden has promised to bring the country together and the measures he has taken with this relief bill could be a sign that he really intends to do that.

First, he will send much needed help to suffering households, raising the amount of the check from $600, proposed by Congress, to $1,400. Many people have lost their jobs and even their homes during the course of the pandemic, so this is welcome relief. The bill will also extend unemployment insurance programs, which were threatening to expire in mid-March. The Biden measure would also extend tax credits for children and lower-income workers. And $400 billion would be set aside for provisions for getting out vaccines and more testing, as well as reopening schools.

Biden has also included a long-awaited rising of the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. This has long been a pet political project of Democrats, and is laudable given the paltry level of pay for many workers. Nevertheless, as small businesses are suffering major losses or have even gone bankrupt during the pandemic, this measure may well lead to even greater unemployment as many business owners, now deep in debt, may not be able to bear the added costs for their workers.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. /Xinhua

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. /Xinhua

Biden will no doubt be able to implement his program as he will have a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress, albeit razor-thin in the Senate. He may also succeed in getting the needed support from enough Republicans to pass the program handily. It would be a good start for the Biden presidency.

But the bitterness engendered by congressional Democrats rabid "Get Trump" campaign could poison the well for any program for bringing the country together. The Biden inauguration will occur in a nation's capital where there will be more soldiers deployed than there are presently in Afghanistan. And the claims that President Trump somehow gave a "green light" to the attacks on the Capitol, the real origins of which are still very much under investigation by Federal authorities, is not terribly convincing to those who didn't already hate President Trump. And he did receive over 70 million votes.

Biden himself was not terribly happy about the Congress' decision to proceed with President Trump's second impeachment, but he has to work with enraged Democrats as well as with congressional Republicans. He is also heading an Administration, which, judging from his present appointees, contains a good number of individuals who are not terribly interested in uniting the country except around a fairly radical Democratic agenda, which few, or no, Republicans would be willing to accept.

Can Biden keep his own house in order to really implement the program of bringing the country together? We hope that will be the case. A good start would be developing a major infrastructure program for the ailing American economy. Such a program was promised by President Trump, but was hijacked in favor of a trade war with China. Biden could change that with his Democratic majority. And, he would no doubt find more than a few Republican who would support such a program. Build America Better has been the Biden program. But the emphasis here is on the "build."  As soon as the immediate emergency is somewhat under control, he will have to put together some shovel-ready programs to rebuild our system of highways and railroads and waterways.

And if the American people can see this happening, even those with great bitterness over the treatment of a relatively popular president could be won over in supporting the man they didn't vote for. The ball is in Biden's court, and we hope he can play it well as it is the future of the nation that is at stake.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

Search Trends