President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as president in 52 days, but is already addressing the coronavirus pandemic, including a second stimulus package.
Many believe Biden has done more this month to address the pandemic than Trump has done since February. Biden has already assembled a coronavirus task force, promised to increase testing nationally and implement the Defense Production Act to deal with Personal Protective Equipment shortages.
Biden wants to see a coronavirus stimulus package than the first one that passed in March including an extension of the $600 federal benefit that will continue “however long this crisis lasts.”
The former vice president is also in favor of the $200 increase in Social Security payments and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) proposed.
With more than a month left until Biden takes over and Trump still trying (and failing) to get his lawsuits to stick, residents have been forced to wait in lines for hours at food pantries and rely on community fridges and charities.
Biden’s stimulus plan also includes making all testing and treatment for coronavirus free for everyone, including vaccines. Emergency paid sick leave for full and part-time workers, gig workers and independent contractors is included as well as the federal government paying 100% of all COBRA costs for those who have lost their job due to the pandemic for the period they are eligible.
Another round of stimulus checks and student loan forgiveness is also included in Biden’s package.
Despite Biden’s ambitious plans, there are several factors standing in his way. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he doesn’t want to add to the federal deficit and the two looming Georgia Senate runoffs that could turn Biden’s ambitious plans into a bevy of Executive Orders amid a lame duck term.
The coronavirus pandemic has put the U.S. in a chokehold. There are currently more than 13 million active cases across the country and the death toll is creeping towards 300,000.