Next stimulus package: This is what President-elect Joe Biden might do – CNET

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Biden won’t be sworn into office until January, but he says he’ll be ready on Day 1.


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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the voting in November and its aftermath.

With coronavirus cases continuing to surge across the US, breaking yet another record high in new infections, progress remains at a standstill on the next wave of COVID-19 relief. On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted support for a new stimulus bill that is both large and focused, a seeming contradiction. With Republicans and Democrats at odds (the House of Representatives returns to Washington on Monday), the timing of a new stimulus bill before President-elect Joe Biden‘s inauguration on Jan. 20 is still up in the air.

Despite the uncertainty, Biden has laid out a plan to address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the US economy, starting with a COVID-19 task force and a new set of strategies that complements a similar plan Biden released during his presidential campaign.

“One of the urgent things that need to be done is people need relief right now,” Biden said Nov. 10, Business Insider reported, stressing that his plans won’t take effect until his swearing-in. 

Below, we examine everything Biden may be planning, whether new stimulus aid passes before the end of 2020.


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Next stimulus checks: What to expect

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Another round of stimulus checks

The CARES Act, passed in March, was the first stimulus package intended to help people financially affected by the pandemic. One of the most popular aspects of the act was a stimulus check of up to $1,200 sent out to more than 160 million Americans. That direct aid caused a jump in household spending, helped millions at risk of slipping into poverty and allowed others to save

Biden’s plan, like the one President Donald Trump is backing, will include more direct stimulus payments, but it doesn’t specify how many or for how much, or if any of the qualifications would change. Democrats and Republicans are currently negotiating for more stimulus relief that would include another round of direct payments, but the clock is ticking to get a bill passed.

Read moreYou don’t have to be a US citizen living in America to get a stimulus check

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Stimulus checks are just the beginning.


Angela Lang/CNET

Unemployment benefits would get extended

COVID-19 lockdowns across cities led to an unprecedented spike in unemployment, with more than 20 million people having lost their jobs back in May. To help those unemployed suddenly, the CARES Act provided a weekly bonus payment of $600 on top of unemployment benefits provided by the states. These extra funds expired at the end of July, and Trump restarted a smaller version of the bonus in August via an executive memo. This temporary relief provided $300 extra for six weeks and has since been exhausted; only a new stimulus package would provide more funds. (Here’s every benefit that dries up if the stimulus isn’t renewed.)

Biden’s plan doesn’t go into specifics about how much funding may be available. It does say a bill would improve unemployment benefits. 

Extra Social Security money per month

There were no measures to boost Social Security in the CARES Act or in other relief packages since then. Biden’s stimulus plan calls for an additional $200 to be added to the monthly payments that go to Social Security recipients. 

Forgiveness for federal student loan debt

Included in the CARES Act was a forbearance for student loans. Individuals who owed money wouldn’t need to make payments or see any interest accrue until “the end of September,” according to Biden’s stimulus vision. If implemented in the future, there would, of course, be a different cutoff date.

Back in August, Trump extended the forbearance until the end of 2020. Biden’s plan goes a different direction by offering a loan forgiveness of a $10,000 minimum. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat and former presidential candidate, outlined a plan to forgive the federal student loan debt back in September.

More measures besides

Biden’s plan would also include:

  • More money for small businesses
  • Emergency sick leave for everyone who needs it
  • Fiscal relief for states
  • No out-of-pocket money for COVID-19 testing, treatment and an eventual vaccine

For more information on the stimulus package situation, read how to calculate your stimulus money, why you might receive an EIP card instead of a check and all the reasons your next check could be bigger.

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