Stop and reverse. Restore and expand. |
Oct 31, 2020 |
By The Associated Press
Joe Biden is promising to take the country on a very different path from what it has seen over the past four years under President Donald Trump, on issues ranging from the coronavirus and health care to the environment, education and more.
The Democratic presidential nominee is promising to reverse Trump policy moves on things such as withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and weakening protections against environmental pollution.
While Trump wants to kill the Affordable Care Act, Biden is proposing to expand “Obamacare” by adding a public option to cover more Americans.
Here’s what we know about what a Biden presidency might look like.
1. ECONOMY, TAXES AND THE DEBT
Biden argues that the economy cannot fully recover until COVID-19 is contained.
For the long-term recovery, the former vice president is pitching sweeping federal action to avoid an extended recession and to address long-standing wealth inequality that disproportionately affects nonwhite Americans.
He would cover the cost of some of his big ticket environmental and health insurance proposals by rolling back much of the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. He wants a corporate income tax rate of 28% — lower than before but higher than now — and broad income and payroll tax increases for individuals with more than $400,000 of annual taxable income. All that would generate an estimated $4 trillion or more over 10 years.
Biden also frames immigration as an economic matter. He wants to expand legal immigration slots and offer a citizenship path for about 11 million people who are in the country illegally but who, Biden notes, are already economic contributors as workers and consumers.
An analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Biden’s campaign proposals would increase the national debt by about $5.6 trillion over 10 years.
The national debt now stands at more than $20 trillion. (AP content continues below … )
MORE COVERAGE OF THE BIDEN AGENDA:
- NY Attorney General Preparing List of Trump Accomplishments to Repeal if Biden Wins
2. CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC (continuation …)
Biden draws some of his sharpest contrasts with Trump on the pandemic, arguing that the presidency and federal government exist for such crises. Unlike Trump, he doesn’t believe the leading role in the virus response should belong to state governors, with the federal government in support.
Biden endorses generous federal spending to help businesses and individuals, along with state and local governments, deal with the financial cliffs of the pandemic slowdown. He’s promised aggressive use of the Defense Production Act, the wartime law a president can use to direct manufacture of critical supplies. Trump has used that law on such things as ventilator production.
Biden promises to elevate the government’s scientists and physicians to communicate a consistent message to the public, and he would have the United States rejoin the World Health Organization.
He has promised to use his transition period before taking office to convene meetings with every governor and ask those leaders to impose what would be a nationwide mask mandate because the federal government doesn’t have that power. Biden says he would go around holdouts by securing such rules from county and local officials — though enforcement of all such orders may be questionable.
3. HEALTH CARE
The health care law known as “Obamacare” was a hallmark of the Obama administration, and Biden wants to build on that to provide coverage for all. He would create a “Medicare-like public option” to compete alongside private insurance markets for working-age Americans, while increasing premium subsidies that many people already use. Solid middle-class households would have access to subsidized health insurance.
Biden estimates his plan would cost about $750 billion over 10 years. That positions Biden between Trump, who wants to scrap the 2010 health law, and progressives who want a government-run system to replace private insurance altogether. Biden sees his approach as the next step toward universal coverage and one he could get through Congress.
The Supreme Court, which now has a solid conservative majority, is scheduled to hear a case challenging the law soon after Tuesday’s election. If Biden wins, he would have to deal with the fallout from that eventual decision.
On prescription drugs, Biden supports legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for government programs as well as private payers. He would prohibit drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation for people covered by Medicare and other federal programs. He would also limit the initial prices for “specialty drugs” to treat serious illnesses, using what other countries pay as a yardstick.
Biden would put a limit on annual out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare enrollees, a change that Trump sought but was unable to get through Congress. Also similar to Trump, Biden would allow importation of prescription drugs, subject to safety checks.
Biden has called Trump’s actions on immigration an “unrelenting assault” on American values and says he would “undo the damage” while continuing to maintain border enforcement.
Biden says he would immediately reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allowed people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain as legal residents, and end the restrictions on asylum imposed by Trump.
He also said he would end the Trump administration’s “public charge rule,” which would deny visas or permanent residency to people who use public services such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing vouchers. Biden would support a 100-day freeze on all deportations while his administration studied ways to roll back Trump policies. But Biden would eventually restore an Obama-era policy of prioritizing the removal of immigrants who have come to the U.S. illegally and who have been convicted of crimes or pose a national security threat, as opposed to all immigrants who have come to the country illegally — Trump’s approach. Biden has said he would halt all funding for construction of new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Biden is proposing a $2 trillion push to slow global warming by throttling back the burning of fossil fuels, aiming to make the nation’s power plants, vehicles, mass transport systems and buildings more fuel efficient and less dependent on oil, gas and coal.
Biden says his administration would ban new permits for oil and gas production on federal lands, although he says he does not support a fracking ban.
Biden’s public health and environment platform also calls for reversing the Trump administration’s slowdown of enforcement against polluters, which in several categories has fallen to the lowest point in decades. That would include establishing a climate and environmental justice division within the Justice Department.
Biden emphasizes environmental justice, which is about addressing the disproportionate harm to lower-income and minority communities from corporate polluters. Biden says he would support climate lawsuits targeting fossil fuel-related industries.
He said he would reverse Trump’s plan to exit the Paris climate accord.
Biden supports abortion rights and has said he would nominate federal judges who would uphold Roe v. Wade.
He would rescind Trump’s family planning rule, which has prompted many clinics to leave the federal Title X program that provides birth control and basic medical care for low-income women.
In a switch from his previous stance, Biden now says he supports “repeal” of the Hyde Amendment, opening the way for federal programs such as Medicaid to pay for abortions.
Biden led efforts as a senator to establish the background check system now in use when people buy guns from a federal licensed dealer. He also helped pass a 10-year ban on a group of semi-automatic guns, or “assault weapons,” during the Clinton presidency.
Biden has promised to seek another ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Owners would have to register existing assault weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He would also support a program to purchase assault weapons.
Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one and would require background checks for all guns sales with limited exceptions, such as gifts between family members.
Biden would also support legislation to prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.