Jun 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden releases plan for jump-starting the economy during coronavirus

Joe Biden stands in front of American flags in a suit
Biden speaks at Delaware State University on June 5. Photo: JIm Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden released a plan on Thursday for how he believes the federal government should set the foundation for reopening the country and jump-starting the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: In contrast to the White House guide to reopening released in April, Biden's plan does not need to address thornier questions of what businesses should reopen and when states should leave lockdowns, since all states have already fully or partially reopened.

Yes, but: Biden's plan outlines more details than the official White House guidance on reopening, which left granular decisions to state governors.

  • Biden published a statement in late April calling for increased testing and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) production as the country reopens, saying: "If we don’t beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength."

Biden's new plan calls for the government to:

  • Publish searchable, real-time data on where the virus has spread that narrows new infections down to zip codes. Nationwide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is updated daily and and gives state-level overviews.
  • Ensure all workers have appropriate PPE based on their potenital exposure. Some health care workers continued to report shortages as recently as last month.
  • Incentivize stores to follow testing procedures with federal funding and a "Safer for Shoppers" sign.
  • Increase funding for coronavirus pediatric research done through the National Institutes of Health.
  • Recruit contract tracers through a "Public Health Jobs Corps" that aims to hire at least 100,000 people. Contract tracing is currently organized by state, and as of last month, 44 states and Washington, D.C. planned to hire over 66,000 people, per NPR.
  • Enforce social distancing, testing, and other mitigation efforts at work through OSHA.

What he's saying: "Americans deserve a President who will ensure that re-opening is as effective and safe as possible — putting people back on the payroll as quickly as possible and restoring economic demand as fully as possible. Trump has abdicated any effective federal leadership, leaving state, tribal, and local officials to do their best without help from Washington," Biden said in his proposal.

Go deeper: Read the full plan

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