The changes that the election results brought to the makeup of both chambers of Congress and the fact that there will be a new administration in the White House have left everyone wondering what will happen to the new relief bill that was being discussed.
Despite the fact that the vote count in key states continues and that trump plans to fight the election results legally, President-elect Joe Biden announced the first steps in his transition plan.
After major US networks called the election in his favor of Biden on Saturday, the president-elect started laying out how he plans to tackle the coronavirus and aid economic recovery, among other priorities, on day one of his administration.
According to CNBC, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have already named their coronavirus task force, promised to increase testing, and plan to use the Defense Production Act to make more protective equipment for frontline workers.
It may be difficult, however, to get a divided Congress to agree to another stimulus package as it has been for months. Democrats could lead the Senate when Georgia hosts a runoff election for two seats in January, which could make matters easier but, in any case, that wouldn’t happen before inauguration day on January 20, 2021.
Meanwhile, millions of people could lose unemployment benefits altogether by December 31, 2020, there could be an eviction crisis if more relief isn’t made available.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week he wants a package passed before the end of the year, but it’s unclear if a deal will be able to be reached in the present scenario.
Among all this uncertainty, here are some policies Biden is supporting, according to his campaign website:
Extend enhanced unemployment insurance
Biden said he will work with Congress to extend the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits “however long this crisis lasts.”
Increase Social Security payments
The president-elect has proposed increasing Social Security by $200 per month.
Make Covid-19 medical treatment free
Biden has said all testing and treatment for Covid-19 will be free for everyone, including any possible vaccines.
Paid sick leave
He has proposed making emergency paid sick leave available to everyone, including part-time workers, gig workers, and independent contractors.
Additional economic impact payments will be sent “should conditions require,” but It is unclear how much they would be worth or who would be eligible.
Student loan forgiveness
Biden supports forgiving $10,000 per person in federal student loan debt.
He has also advocated for premium pay for essential workers, more money for state and local governments, relief for small businesses, and halting evictions and foreclosures for the duration of the crisis.
However, as we already said, it is unclear what a divided Congress, and a lame-duck president, would agree to pass.