How Joe Biden would reopen the U.S. economy


Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a roundtable on reopening the economy with community leaders at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 11, 2020.Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

As states reopen and coronavirus cases in the United States progress, former vice president Joe Biden presented a plan to reopen the economy on Thursday.The presumed Democratic presidential candidate unveiled the proposal as he began a roundtable in Philadelphia on the safe lifting of public health bans during the pandemic. While the coronavirus epidemic would likely be very different in January if Biden won the presidency and took office at the time, his campaign plan contrasts with President Donald Trump’s reopening policies, which he says are “Terribly short”.

Biden’s campaign said the proposal:

  • Guarantee coronavirus tests and personal protective equipment for people who return to work
  • Cover medical and family leave for people who fall ill with Covid-19 or have to take care of their loved ones
  • Temporarily expand workplace safety protections and small businesses that don’t meet standards
  • Create a workforce of over 100,000 coronavirus contact tracers in collaboration with state, local and tribal authorities
  • Require companies to make specific arrangements for workers who are themselves at high risk for health complications or whose family members do so, or allow employees to benefit from unemployment insurance if they can’t work safely
  • Provide grants to small businesses to cover costs associated with reopening and ensure that businesses owned by people of color are not excluded from federal resources
  • Cover the additional costs that schools and daycares face when they reopen

Explaining why he wants the federal government to provide money for paid vacations and the reopening of child care, among other initiatives, Biden said that the economy would be “worse off” if the United States did not spend more.

As states restart their economies in phases, the White House has downplayed the immediate need for more federal action to make the process smoother or to help more people who have lost their jobs or are struggling to cover costs for the pandemic. While Trump previously approved the sending of another stimulus check to the Americans, his administration does not plan to resume relief talks until July.

The president and his advisers stressed that the economy added 2.5 million jobs in May as proof that the reopening process is working – although the unemployment rate is still 13.3%, higher than any time after the 2008 financial crisis. They also noted that the US government had not used up all the money allocated during the epidemic to keep employees on the payroll and allow companies to rehire.

Warning signs appeared when states lifted the restrictions. States like Texas and Arizona have seen an increase in Covid-19 cases after their economies have rebounded.

Trump said on Friday that the United States has “largely weathered” the pandemic.

Republicans in the White House and the Senate aim to adopt liability protections for doctors and businesses when states reopen.

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