Tuesday’s US election: If Joe Biden wins, he already has a stimulus plan for COVID-19


Former Vice President Joe Biden has a plan for pandemic relief.


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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

The Election Day polls are now closed and the projections have begun. The bipartisan negotiations to pass a new economic relief package are currently on pause. Both presidential hopefuls, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, each have a plan for getting them back on track.

“After the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” Trump said Oct. 27 in a press briefing, indicating that he would be re-elected. 

Biden has his own ideas, too, which he detailed online as part of his presidential campaign. Called the Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy, the document is a speculative overview, but also one that provides insight on the direction he would push if he’s elected president. 

That plan features some elements from the CARES Act, such as stimulus payments for eligible Americans and more unemployment benefits, and envisions new measures to provide additional financial help. Here’s what’s in it.

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More stimulus checks for individuals and families

The CARES Act was the first stimulus package intended to help those financially affected by the pandemic. One of the most popular aspects of the act was the up to $1,200 stimulus check sent out to an over 160 million Americans. It caused a jump in household spending, helped millions from slipping into poverty and allowed others to save

Biden’s plan, like the one Trump is backing, will include more direct stimulus payments, but it doesn’t specify how many or for how much, or if any of the qualifications would change. Democrats and Republicans are currently negotiating for more stimulus relief that would include another round of direct payments, but the clock is ticking to get a bill passed, and the results of the presidential elections on Nov. 3 could play a role on the timing of a deal.

Read moreYou don’t have to be a US citizen living in America to get a stimulus check

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Stimulus checks are just the beginning.


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Boost and renew unemployment benefits

Lockdowns across cities led to an unprecedented spike in unemployment with more than 20 million people having lost their jobs back in May. To help those unemployed so suddenly, the CARES Act provided a weekly bonus payment of $600 to go on top of the unemployment benefits provided by the states. These extra funds expired at the end of July, and President Trump restarted the bonus in August via an executive memo. This temporary relief provided $300 extra for six weeks and has since been exhausted with only a new stimulus package capable of providing more funds. (Here’s every benefit that dries up if the stimulus isn’t renewed.)

Biden’s plan does not go into specifics on how much funding would be available. It does say that a bill would boost unemployment benefits. 

Increase Social Security payments

There were no measures to Social Security in the CARES Act or other relief packages since then. Biden’s stimulus plan calls for an additional $200 added to the monthly payments to Social Security recipients. 

Forgive student loans

Included in the CARES Act was a forbearance for student loans. Those individuals who owed money wouldn’t need to make payments or see any interest accrue until the end of September, according to Biden’s stimulus vision. 

Back in August, Trump extended the forbearance until the end of 2020. Biden’s plan goes a different direction by offering a loan forgiveness of a $10,000 minimum. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, outlined a plan to forgive the federal student loan debt back in September.

Additional measures

Biden’s action plan also includes additional reliefs such as:

  • More money for small businesses
  • Emergency sick leave for everyone who needs it
  • Fiscal relief for states
  • No out-of-pocket money for COVID-19 testing, treatment and an eventual vaccine

For more information on the current stimulus package situation, read how to calculate your stimulus money, why you might receive an EIP card instead of a check and all the reasons your next check could be bigger.



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