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Biden’s Stimulus Proposal and Relief Plan, Explained
President-elect Joe Biden has created the Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy — a plan that details the steps he will take when his term in office begins. Biden’s campaign was largely based around pandemic recovery, so it’s no surprise he’s moved quickly with announcing his COVID-19 advisory board and proposals for relief.
Pulling inspiration from the CARES act, his plan includes stimulus checks, small business support and additional unemployment benefits. More details about the package are expected to emerge, but here’s what you can expect from Biden’s plan.
Another round of stimulus checks
Yes. There will probably be more stimulus checks. The plan doesn’t include how much the checks will be or who will be eligible, though it might share plenty of similarities to what we saw in the CARES Act. The exact wording used in the plan is: “provide for additional checks to families should conditions require.” Given that relief has been withheld from Americans because of a deadlocked Congress, it’s safe to assume that another round of checks is near. How soon it comes will depend on an agreement between Republicans and Democrats.
Tangible student loan forgiveness
Instead of extending the forbearance period for student loan borrowers, Biden’s plan includes actual loan forgiveness. The plan states a minimum of $10,000 of federal student loans per borrower, though accompanying requirements are still unclear.
Although the original extension was helpful for borrowers during peak national lockdowns, loan forgiveness would alleviate the unmanageable balances borrowers carry — which is more than $1.6 trillion.
More unemployment benefits
Similar to the first package, Biden intends to add additional unemployment benefits for Americans who remain out of work. According to his campaign website, he intends to extend the original $600 of unemployment benefits until the end of the pandemic.
A boost in social security
Even before the pandemic, social security benefits were doing little to cover the rising living and medical costs for seniors. Biden proposes to increase social security checks by $200 each month –– a benefit that was not included in the first stimulus package. As seniors and people with disabilities are highly at risk, this increase would not go unnoticed.
Covered testing and treatment
The plan also states that no one will have to pay for testing, treatment or receive unexpected medical bills. Although the Trump administration created a program to cover coronavirus bills for the uninsured, The New York Times reports that many have been charged surprising fees ranging from a few dollars to thousands. Based on Biden’s proposal, Americans will no longer have to worry about shouldering the expenses of testing or struggling to get their employer to expense it.
Paid sick leave
Instead of deferring to an employer to support people if they contract the coronavirus, Biden proposes emergency sick leave for everyone. Regardless of whether they work full-time, part-time, freelance or are self-employed. He has also emphasized the need for stronger labor protections as the pandemic has shed light on the lack of workplace protections, particularly for people of color — disproportionally represented as essential workers who have worked throughout the crisis in unsafe conditions.
State fiscal relief
A lot of financial relief has fallen on the states. California, for example, has spent $260 million on public health expenses while states like Wisconsin have funded over $400 million for hospital and community preparedness. But as funds run dry, they have little resources to support their communities. According to his website, Biden’s proposal will include “all necessary fiscal relief to states so their workers and communities get the help they need.” Biden also wants to provide $377 billion to small businesses to ensure they can cover rent, pay employees and keep their doors open.
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