Why Vote for Joe? A Serious Response to COVID-19, Based in Science, for Safe Re-Opening
“We all agree on the need to reopen the economy and allow some semblance of normalcy as soon as possible. The economic pain and suffering are simply too great to delay unnecessarily. But it is wrong to talk about ‘choosing’ between our public health and our economy. That’s a false choice. If we don’t beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength.” – Joe Biden
Joe Biden and congressional Democrats agree that their top priority upon taking office is an aggressive and meaningful response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis. A Democratic-led Senate would to immediately take up and pass a relief bill modeled after both HEROES Acts, which passed the House in May and October respectively and have not been brought to the floor by the Republican-controlled Senate. The relief would include:
- Funding for state and local governments
- Another round of $1200 stimulus checks
- Additional grants for small businesses
- Funding for testing and contact tracing to help make testing widely available and free
- Extension of unemployment benefits
- Funding for the USPS
- Targeted funding for particularly hard-hit industries like airlines
- Save our Stages provisions to help support struggling independent venues and artists
- COBRA subsidies for people who have lost employer-based coverage
In addition, Joe Biden supports
- Enhanced emergency paid leave
- The wide availability of free testing
- Ending the chaos and turning to the advice of experts and scientists
- Restoring the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which was eliminated by the Trump Administration in 2018
- Working with businesses to produce all necessary PPE
- Createing a set of universal guidelines for the safe opening of schools and businesses
Joe Biden would increase the amount of funding available for PPP protection and would guarantee funds for every qualifying small business rather than capping the fund and forcing small businesses to compete for needed relief.
The suggestion that Democrats want to keep the economy closed is unfounded and intentionally inflammatory. Joe Biden wants to keep Americans healthy while opening the economy with science-based approaches. If a sector cannot be opened safely, Biden and Democrats are ready to provide the support needed for those industries to survive until they can again open.
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Many of his ideas carry echoes of Roosevelt’s New Deal vision of the robust role the U.S. government should play in helping the nation recover from a crisis. He would quickly appoint a national “supply chain commander” to coordinate the logistics of manufacturing and distributing protective gear and test kits, invoking the Defense Production Act more aggressively than Mr. Trump has to build up supplies.
Mr. Biden wants to mobilize at least 100,000 Americans for a “public health jobs corps” of contact tracers to help track and curb outbreaks. And he has even called for a “Pandemic Testing Board” to swell the supply of coronavirus tests — a play on Roosevelt’s War Production Board.
“We can’t solve the business crisis unless we solve the health crisis first,” Howard Koh, a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told Business Insider in July. “Every business is in the health business, whether they realize it or not, because they’re taking care of their employees, their customers, their communities, and the environment.”
In addition to federal stimulus money, Biden’s economic recovery plan includes an emergency fund for state and local governments. The money could go toward cash payments or tax relief for vulnerable individuals, as well as interest-free loans for small- and medium-sized businesses.