On Saturday, The Associated Press and other news outlets projected that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and will become the new president of the United States. Many supporters were glad to hear this news because they believe Biden may finally break the U.S. Congress's stalemate on a stimulus check bill. Thanks to Biden's policy plans, we have a pretty clear idea of what a stimulus package might look like under his presidency.
Biden inherits a fraught situation as president, with the coronavirus pandemic raging on and the economic recession worsening. Many experts say that another major stimulus package is needed, but the White House and Congress have been at a standstill in negotiations since May. With some new faces in Congress and a new president in the White House, the talks might finally get somewhere, although these new officials won't be sworn in until Jan. 20, 2021.
There is always a chance that Congress and the Trump administration will reach an agreement before that, although some analysts have cast doubt on this theory. According to a CBS News report, the Trump campaign intends to continue to pursue legal battles over the election, claiming that there was widespread voter fraud without any clear evidence.
These actions might take up the time Trump would otherwise use for a stimulus check, though there is no guarantee. If so, here is a look at what a stimulus package under President Biden might look like.
Biden's plan would include another Economic Impact Payment, or stimulus check, sent directly to eligible American taxpayers. According to a report by CNET, Biden appears to favor the same $1,200 check included in the CARES Act, and in other, more recent proposals. It is not clear if he supports the eligibility guidelines proposed in Democrats' HEROES Act, in Republicans' HEALS Act, or a different structure.
Either way, none of the proposals have varied much on the stimulus check itself. As president, Biden would only have a role in signing the bill into law, not into making any major overhauls to it.prevnext
Surprisingly, Biden's plan does not address the issue of unemployment, although that has been one of the most important issues to Democrats in Congress. However, Biden is unlikely to rely on executive orders like the one Trump used in August, diverting FEMA emergency relief funds to temporary unemployment checks. It is not clear which side Biden would support in the issue of unemployment enhancements.prevnext
Unlike the CARES Act and more recent stimulus proposals, Biden's plan reportedly includes a boost to social security. He would add $200 per month to Social Security recipients as an emergency measure to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Whether either side would object to this program is unclear.prevnext
Student Loan Forgiveness
Biden's plan would extend the forbearance on federal student loans, but it does not address the idea of forgiving those loans altogether. The CARES Act suspended federal student loan payments when the pandemic first hit, and Trump eventually extended that forbearance until the end of 2020. Biden's plan would reportedly extend it even further, until at least September of 2021.prevnext
Other programs in Biden's plan include more emergency money for small businesses, emergency sick leave for all workers, new coronavirus prevention funding for state governments and widespread coverage for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and eventually a vaccine, when it is ready.prevnext
Biden's plan is not fully fleshed out, but the real problem with it is the wait before it could be enacted. Assuming the projections that Biden has won the election are correct, he will not be able to start taking action until Jan. 21, 2021, and the situation with the pandemic and the economy could change greatly before then. Biden's plan may be sparse so that it can remain flexible for that situation.prev