Trump vs. Biden on COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus: Here’s what they’re promising
As the United States treks past the six-month mark of the coronavirus crisis, negotiations for a second relief package are withering at an impasse on Capitol Hill, with neither Republicans nor Democrats willing to give up ground on the road to November.
While we’re hoping Congress can sidestep its politics long enough to offer relief for struggling Americans, let’s be real—we may not see an aid package until at least post-Election Day, if not Inauguration Day.
But the fabled stimulus will probably materialize at some point, since both presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have mentioned some form of pandemic relief on the campaign trail. Here’s what could happen if either clinches the victory this fall:
If Biden Wins
Biden’s flagship plan for post-coronavirus economic recovery, dubbed “Build Back Better,” is a sweeping policy that’s meant to tackle issues from COVID-19 job loss, to climate change, to structural racism. The plan is published on the Biden campaign’s website—but mostly in broad terms, and with vague language.
One of few details we know is that it’s reportedly worth $3 trillion. And as Biden advisers told Axios, Biden would aim to implement the plan in spring 2021, with a $1 to $2 trillion stimulus in January to tide over the economy. Officially, the Biden campaign has been reluctant to commit to a price tag or timeline for the stimulus. That would depend on what actions—if any—Congress takes between now and next year.
Speaking of Congress, Biden’s full $3 trillion plan may follow the blueprint of the $3 trillion HEROES Act proposal passed by House Democrats in May, reports Axios. That proposal was opposed by Senate Republicans, who countered with their own $1 trillion proposal in July. (Negotiations have stalled since then, with Democrats setting a floor of $2.2 trillion and Republicans fixed on a ceiling of $1 trillion). It’s worth noting that it’s hard to get things done without Congress, so Biden’s plan may rely on whether Democrats win control of the Senate in addition to the House this fall. If not, he’ll inherit today’s decidedly partisan legislative branch—which could scuttle much of his plan.
Although Build Back Better does not disclose specifics, here’s what Biden has said in the past:
If Trump wins
If President Trump wins reelection—just like if Biden wins—a lot will depend on whether power shifts in Congress. But from Trump himself, we can expect more of the same. In August, he circumvented a gridlocked Congress by issuing a stopgap executive order for coronavirus relief, giving some insight into where he stands.
Here’s what we know so far:
And on Wednesday, Trump tweeted a call encouraging Republicans to back a larger coronavirus relief package with “much higher numbers.” Chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump was open to the $1.5 trillion proposal unveiled by the House Problem Solvers Caucus on Tuesday—a bipartisan group hoping to “find common ground” on a Congressional rescue package before November—which includes $450-$600 per week in federal unemployment benefits, $1,200 checks to citizens, and $290 billion for small businesses and the Paycheck Protection Program. However, the proposal is widely acknowledged as a long shot to become law.