Joe Biden is inheriting an economic crisis as he assumes the presidency, just as he did when he became vice president a dozen years ago. But this crisis is different and, to the relief of many liberal economists, so is Biden’s response.

The $1.9 trillion economic rescue package that Biden proposed Thursday is significantly larger and more targeted toward the economy’s biggest problems than the stimulus he and President Barack Obama pushed through in 2009. It is not intended to generate enough consumer spending to jolt the nation into a rapid recovery, like a traditional stimulus would in a more normal recession.

It is meant instead to resuscitate economic activity by more aggressively attacking the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccines and testing, and to sustain hard-hit people and businesses until that job is done.