President-elect Joe Biden plans to push for another stimulus check bill when he takes office if one is not passed before then. Biden's plans in this area are amorphous since the issue is such a moving target, but some concrete things keep track of as his presidency draws closer.
Biden has released policy plans for man key issues in the 2020 presidential election, including many ideas for the coronavirus pandemic. That means passing another stimulus package, though Biden has not been able to pin down what that will mean until he understands what he is working with. For one thing, there is always the chance that the U.S. Congress will manage to pass a stimulus bill before January — though experts are saying that the chances seem slim. For another thing, Biden does not know which party will have control of the United States Senate when he takes office, and that could shape his plans in several ways.
In general, Biden has supported the Democratic party's ideas for another stimulus check — he has praised the HEROES Act, both in its original form and its current revised form. However, he has also made big promises about his abilities to reach across the aisle and compromise with Republicans, so it seems likely that a Biden plan would encompass many of their priorities as well.
Whatever the case, Americans are in desperate need of more financial aid to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Economists generally agree that more stimulus would boost the economy as they await a COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a look at Biden's plan for the stimulus check.
Biden's plan would incorporate another round of Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks, as they are typically referred to. These direct payments were a huge boon of the CARES Act back in March, and both the Republican and Democratic plans feature nearly the same scheme for eligibility and distribution. Biden has not said that he wants the checks to look any different, so it appears he favors the system described in the revised HEROES Act.prevnext
Biden's plans for economic recovery say that he would push for improved unemployment benefits, though they do not go into specifics as to what he wants those benefits to look like. In all likelihood, Biden intentionally left this aspect of the plan open-ended knowing that he would have to negotiate with Republicans, who disagreed strongly with Democrats' unemployment proposals.
The CARES Act added an extra $600 per week to unemployment checks around the country from March until the end of July, and lawmakers have been unable to come up with an alternative since then. Republicans frequently argue that this is too much money, so this might be an area where Biden tries to compromise. However, so far House Democrats have resisted lowering the amount by even a cent.prevnext
Biden's plan is unique in its call for a boost to Social Security checks due to the coronavirus pandemic. He would add $200 per month to the payments Social Security recipients get — a measure that was not included in the CARES Act or any of the major relief proposals since.prevnext
In March, the CARES Act granted forbearance on federal student loan payments until the end of August, and President Donald Trump later extended that forbearance until the end of 2020. As it is written now, Biden's plan would extend that forbearance further to the end of September of 2021, or perhaps longer, depending on when the bill is passed.
Biden's plan takes it even further, however, outright offering student loan forgiveness of at least $10,000 for eligible taxpayers. This plan sparked a huge debate over the last week, but Biden stood firm on the idea.prevnext
Another vital aspect of Biden's plan is to make COVID-19 testing and treatment available to everyone with no out-of-pocket cost. That would include the vaccines when they eventually become available. The logistics of this plan would involve working with pharmaceutical companies, and with state and local governments to coordinate treatment centers and distribution plans.prevnext
Biden's plan also includes more emergency funding for small businesses, more money for state and local governments, and a program granting emergency sick leave to all American workers, regardless of company policy. Many of these ideas are in line with the most recent Democratic proposal, though they may be slightly altered to reflect the influence of a Democratic president.prevnext
Crucial to all of Biden's plans is the fate of the United States Senate, which is currently controlled by the Republican party. The 2020 presidential election granted 50 seats to Republican senators, 46 seats to Democratic senators, and sent two seats to run-off elections in January, according to a report by CBS News. There are also two seats occupied by Democrat-aligned Independents.
If Democrats win those two run-off elections, they will just barely be able to gain control of the senate, since the Vice President will be able to serve as a tie-breaking vote. This will open up a world of possibilities for Democrats to pass big legislation — including the stimulus package. On the other hand, if the Republicans retain control, much more compromise will be required.prev