“There is no detailed plan that we’ve seen, anyway, as to how you get the vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into somebody’s arm,” Biden said at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.
“It’s going to be very difficult for that to be done and it’s a very expensive proposition,” Biden said. He noted, “There’s a lot more that has to be done.”
The President-elect said he was encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in the Senate around a $900 billion relief package, but noted any package passed in the lame duck session in Congress would be insufficient.
“I think they’re on their way to being able to come up with a package that meets the basic immediate needs that we have, but I’ve made it real clear, it’s just a down payment. This is not the end of the deal,” Biden said. CNN has reported the President-elect and his team are gearing up to push for an ambitious new stimulus bill once he takes office on January 20.
Biden did not answer whether he had reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about passing a compromise stimulus bill. “We’ll be in dire trouble if we don’t get cooperation. I believe we will,” Biden said when asked if he had spoken with McConnell.
McConnell’s office declined to comment on whether the two men have indeed talked. Two other senior aides who are in close contact with the majority leader also said they were unaware if McConnell and Biden have spoken.
The US economy added 245,000 jobs in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That number was 224,000 fewer than economists had expected and a huge slowdown from the 610,000 jobs added in October.
Biden described Friday’s jobs report as “grim” and said, “It shows an economy that’s stalling, and we remain in the midst of one of the worst economic and job crises in modern history.”
“But it doesn’t have to stay that way,” Biden said. He urged Congress to act immediately to provide economic relief to Americans, warning of workers soon losing the unemployment benefits they rely on.
“The sooner we pass the funding, the sooner we can turn the corner on Covid-19,” Biden said. He stressed the importance of substantial funding for vaccines and testing, in order to allow for schools and businesses to reopen safely.
This story has been updated with additional information from Biden’s speech.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.