Biden's $1.9 Trillion Rescue Plan: Vital Medicine Or Costly Overkill?

Backers of Biden's ambitious stimulus plan say it will help struggling families and businesses, but critics say it goes too far.
President Biden speaks during an announcement on small businesses in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 22. Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that is attracting strong opposition from Republicans – and even some Democrats. Source: Alex Wong

For President Biden, it's a $1.9 trillion gamble.

If successful, his "American Rescue Plan" will help struggling families and businesses weather an unprecedented pandemic and provide a boost to a badly dented economy. It's also broadly popular with voters.

Critics, however, worry it will be end up being a poorly targeted plan that squanders trillions in borrowed money in ways that will do little to improve the nation's long-term economic outlook.

"We are well past the point where our economy is collapsing," said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., this week. "The last thing we need is a massive multi-trillion dollar, universal spending bill."

And it's not just Republicans who are pushing back.

"The question isn't whether we need big stimulus," former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told NPR's Weekend Edition this month. "The question is, do we need the biggest stimulus in American history?"

Biden's gamble arrives after Congress has already passed trillions in aid since last year, leaving the at its second highest since World War II.

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