• Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Biden looks to restore, expand Obama administration policies

  • Published at 05:08 pm November 3rd, 2020
Joe Biden
US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden departs on Election Day, in Wilmington, Delaware on November 3, 2020 Reuters

Under Biden leadership, the US is hope to rejoin the WHO, Paris Climate Accord and dealing countries like Russia, China with multilateral approach

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 US 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.

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.


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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.

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.

Covid-19

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.


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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.

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.


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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.

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.

Immigration

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 US 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 US 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 US-Mexico border.

Foreign policy and National security

Biden supports a strategy of fighting extremist militants abroad with US special forces and airstrikes instead of planeloads of US troops. He wants to see the US close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He has backed some US military interventions, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq that he now says was a mistake, but he leans toward diplomacy and trying to achieve solutions through alliances and global institutions.

He is a strong supporter of Nato. He warns that Moscow is chipping away at the foundation of Western democracy by trying to weaken Nato, divide the European Union and undermine the US electoral system. He also alleges that Russia is using Western financial institutions to launder billions of dollars to use to influence politicians.


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Biden calls for increasing the Navy’s presence in the Asia-Pacific and strengthening alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia and Indonesia. He joins Trump in wanting to end the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but thinks the US should keep a small force in place to counter terrorism.

He says Trump’s decisions to exit bilateral and international treaties such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord have led other nations to doubt Washington’s word. Biden wants to invite all democratic nations to a summit to discuss how to fight corruption, thwart authoritarianism and support human rights.

Environment

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.

Education

Education is a family affair for Biden. His wife, Jill, has taught in high school and community college, and she delivered her speech to the Democratic National Convention this year from her old classroom.

Biden has proposed tripling the federal Title I program for low-income public schools, with a requirement that schools provide competitive pay and benefits to teachers. He wants to ban federal money for for-profit charter schools and to provide new dollars to public charters only if they show they can serve needy students. He opposes voucher programs, where public money is used to pay for private school education.

He has pledged to restore Obama-era policies that were rolled back by the Trump administration, including rules on campus sexual misconduct and a policy that aimed to cut federal money to for-profit colleges that left students with heavy debt and unable to find jobs to pay it back.

Biden supports legislation to make two years of community college free and to make public colleges free for families with incomes below $125,000. His proposed student loan overhaul would not require repayment for people who make less than $25,000 a year, and would limit payments to 5% of discretionary income for others.

He is proposing a $70 billion increase in funding for historically Black colleges and universities, and other schools that serve underrepresented students.

Abortion

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.

Social security

Biden would raise Social Security taxes by applying the payroll tax to earnings above $400,000 a year. The 12.4% tax, equally distributed among employees and employers, currently only applies to the first $137,700 of a person’s earnings. The tax increase would pay for Biden’s proposed benefit expansions and also extend the life of program’s trust fund by five years, to 2040, according to the nonpartisan Urban Institute.

Guns

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 gun’s sales with limited exceptions, such as gifts between family members.

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