November 30, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden has a stimulus plan for the US. Here's what's in it

Biden already has a stimulus plan. Here’s what’s in it, including a second check


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Biden won’t be sworn into office until Jan. 20, but he says he’ll be ready on Day 1.


Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Joe Biden won’t be sworn in as America’s 46th president of the United States for another 73 days, but he already has made fighting the spread of the coronavirus his top priority — and that includes a package on COVID-19 relief. On Monday, Biden will meet with “a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors” to start plotting out plans and policies, the president-elect said Saturday night during his victory speech (you can watch it here).

“Our work begins with getting COVID under control,” Biden said during his speech. “We cannot restore the economy…until we get it under control,” Biden said.

On Friday, the US broke another record, reporting 132,700 new COVID-19 cases. That marked the fourth consecutive day of more than 1,000 deaths related to the coronavirus.

Biden is also expected to share more details of his coronavirus response plan this week, including more stimulus aid for Americans. We already have a glimpse into Biden’s vision. He created the Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy as part of his presidential campaign, a document that provides insight on the direction he may lean once he takes office.

Negotiations on the eventual bill between Democrats and Republicans will be likely. The route to passing another stimulus package before and after the inauguration is projected to be rocky, contentious and extremely partisan.

Biden’s initial plan — which we sum up below — features some elements from the CARES Act, such as stimulus payments for eligible Americans and more unemployment benefits. It also envisions new measures to provide additional financial help. Here’s what’s in it.


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Biden would give you a second stimulus check

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 stimulus check sent out to more than 160 million Americans. That direct aid caused a jump in household spending, helped millions from 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

There would be more unemployment benefits

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 the bonus in August via an executive memo. This temporary relief provided $300 extra for six weeks and has since been exhausted, with only a new stimulus package capable of providing more funds. (Here’s every benefit that dries up if the stimulus isn’t renewed.)

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

Extra money for monthly Social Security checks

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. 

Federal pause on 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, a Democrat from Massachusetts, outlined a plan to forgive the federal student loan debt back in September.

Other measures included in Biden’s plan

Biden’s plan also includes additional relief, including:

  • 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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