If a stimulus package doesn’t pass soon, here’s what Biden could do


How much help could President-elect Joe Biden provide through executive orders?

CNET staff

When it comes to the highly controversial stimulus bill still under debate among the country’s top leaders, the best-case scenario is that after six months of ping pong negotiations, a stimulus package passes before the end of 2020. If a deal fails completely before President-elect Joe Biden sworn in on January 20, the new president has a few tools to meet the most pressing needs.

It is Congress that has sole authority to pass new federal budget laws, such as authorization a second stimulus check and larger unemployment checks. But in limited circumstances, the incumbent president can use an executive order or memorandum to create temporary rules. This is what Biden could do in the worst case, like President Donald Trump done in august, while waiting for Congress to develop a larger package.

(Learn more about Biden’s stimulus plan, which could include a second check for $ 1,200. Here’s what happens if an invoice is passed without further direct payment.)

Stick around to find out what kind of stimulus Biden could bring through the decrees alone. To learn more about another round of direct payments, here is when a second stimulus check might happen, how much money it could bring to your specific household, and how the qualifications might change in another round. This story was recently updated.

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Biden could temporarily renew additional unemployment benefits

Biden a described in its own economic recovery plan an expansion of weekly unemployment bonus authorized under the Loi CARES. Trump signed an order in August extending unemployment benefits beyond the July 31 expiration, to a lower weekly level. Because the spending power rests with Congress and not the president, Biden would need to find a source of funding for the aid, just as Trump did in August when he used the unused FEMA money for his extension.

(Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shut down another source of funding for Biden’s potential executive action that had been made available to the Federal Reserve to use emergency loans when he asked the Fed to return unspent program funds.)

Raise the minimum wage, starting with federal contractors

During Biden’s campaign, the new president has talked about raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, from $ 7.25 an hour now. Without congressional support, Biden won’t be able to raise the federal minimum wage, but he could do so in part through an increase in the minimum wage for federally contracted workers.

Biden could accomplish the increase by executive order, according to Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and policy director at the Institute for Economic Policy. The hourly increase could affect the wages of 5 million workers, Shierholz estimated.


President-elect Joe Biden may consider expanding unemployment assistance.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Suspend student loan payments, interest free

With a deferral for student loan repayments expiring December 31 with the last remaining COVID-19 back-up protections, Biden could follow the steps Trump took last summer and extend the delay until 2021. This means that students could delay repaying their loans until 2021.

Besides a short-term solution, Biden could also consider canceling student loans, based on a plan he outlined in his Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy, in which he proposed to ” set aside a minimum of $ 10,000 for federal student loans.

Stop evictions on unpaid rents

If Congress does not suspend evictions before the moratorium promulgated by Trump runs out on Dec.31, Biden can also use an executive order to prevent landlords from evicting their tenants for not paying rent during the pandemic. Tenants could still be evicted for other reasons.

The precedent set by the Trump administration was to invoke a rare law exercised by the Centers for Disease Control aimed at limiting the spread of the disease by keeping people in their homes and out of homeless shelters or by avoiding crossing them. state borders.

Part of what Biden will be able to accomplish quickly will depend on the Georgia Senate second-round, which could potentially give Democrats slim control of the Senate if both Democratic challengers win.

With the inauguration less than two months, this is what we know Biden’s plans to support the economy, five federal benefits that end in December unless Congress takes action, and where is it negotiate another economic bailout bill.


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