This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.
It’s a nail-biter race and the results of Tuesday’s elections have yet to be determined. As the world continues to wait on who will serve as the next US president, the political tension is silhouetted by questions in America about when people will receive more stimulus money and more aid during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: How would each candidate address the economic and health crisis facing the country today?
“We’ll have a stronger recovery if we can just get at least some more fiscal support,” said Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Thursday. “When it’s appropriate and at the size Congress thinks is appropriate,” he added, according to the New York Times. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that pushing through another coronavirus relief package is “job number one,” despite partisan turmoil.
Meanwhile, negotiations between Democrats and Republicans paused last week resulting in no additional relief before the election. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have both called for more money to help those affected by the pandemic.
While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has spoken for Trump during negotiations with top Democrats, Biden has his own stimulus ideas, too, which he detailed online as part of his presidential campaign. Called the Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy, the document is a speculative overview, but also one that provides insight on the direction he may lean if elected.
Biden’s plan features some elements from the CARES Act, such as stimulus payments for eligible Americans and more unemployment benefits, and envisions new measures to provide additional financial help. Here’s what’s in it.
Yes, a second stimulus check would make the cut
The CARES Act was the first stimulus package intended to help those financially affected by the pandemic. One of the most popular aspects of the act was the up to $1,200 stimulus check sent out to an over 160 million Americans. It caused a jump in household spending, helped millions from slipping into poverty and allowed others to save.
Biden’s plan, like the one 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, and the results of the presidential elections on Nov. 3 could play a role on the timing of a deal.
Read more: You don’t have to be a US citizen living in America to get a stimulus check
More unemployment benefits for workers
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 so suddenly, the CARES Act provided a weekly bonus payment of $600 to go on top of the 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 does not go into specifics on how much funding would be available. It does say that a bill would boost unemployment benefits.
Bigger Social Security checks
There were no measures to Social Security in the CARES Act or other relief packages since then. Biden’s stimulus plan calls for an additional $200 added to the monthly payments to Social Security recipients.
Federal student loan forgiveness
Included in the CARES Act was a forbearance for student loans. Those 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.
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 the plan
Biden’s action plan also includes additional reliefs such as:
- 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 current 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.