Joe Biden says will ask Congress to pass another Covid relief bill
Joe Biden (AFP)

President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday he will ask the US Congress to pass another Covid-19 relief bill after taking office in January.

"Congress did its job this week. And I can and I must ask them to do it again next year," Biden said in a pre-holiday address to the American people.

Biden was speaking a day after lawmakers approved a $900 billion relief package that will provide a long-sought boost for millions of Americans and businesses battered by the pandemic.

The Democratic president-elect, who takes office January 20, applauded Congress for finally reaching a long-sought bipartisan compromise on the vital aid.

"We need to work in a bipartisan way," he said, adding: "That's the only way we're going to get through this."

But he warned: "This bill is just the first step, a down payment. There is a lot more work to do, early next year. I'm going to put forward to the Congress my plans for what comes next."

Biden cited the need for more resources for vaccine distribution, for testing to reopen schools, and for support for everyone from firefighters and police to nurses.

Addressing the "millions of hurting families who are unable to put food on the table, pay rent or the mortgage," he said they would continue to need help well into next year.

"One thing I promise you about my leadership during this crisis: I'm going to tell it to you straight. I'm going to tell you the truth," Biden said.

"And here's the simple truth. Our darkest days in the battle against Covid are ahead of us, not behind us. We need to prepare ourselves, to steel our spines."

"There will be no time to waste in taking the steps we need to turn this crisis around."