Presumed President-elect Joe Biden has published his presidential priorities and a comprehensive agenda — including a COVID-19 and economic recovery plan for American workers and small businesses — in his new “Build Back Better” presidential transition website launched on Sunday.
Here are some of the priorities he emphasizes:
Included among his plans are a promise to put out a Main Street “restart” recovery aid package for small businesses and entrepreneurs, with funding that would cover the costs of operating safely in a COVID-era environment, including things like plexiglass and PPE, echoing previous statements from his campaign website.
“Building back better means helping small businesses and entrepreneurs come out the other side of this crisis strong, while demanding more from corporate America,” the Build Back Better agenda reads. “We’ve seen the second bailout in 12 years for big corporations and Wall Street. Meanwhile, small businesses had to jump through hoops and many couldn’t access the relief they needed. […] And Biden will help small businesses manage through the pandemic and recover, so that millions of entrepreneurs can get back on their feet and carry this economy forward.”
Another economic relief bill was proposed by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in early October but was passed on by the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last Wednesday that the country “needs another rescue package" and "we need to do it before the end of the year,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
His plan for racial equality also includes a small-business opportunity plan to spur investment in communities of color, where small businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19-era unemployment rates and business closures.
Worker rights and benefits
Biden’s plan would also extend COVID-era crisis insurance for unemployed workers.
Moving forward, Biden’s prospective administration reiterated his plan to raise the nationwide minimum wage to $15 an hour, and end tipped minimum wages and sub-minimum wages for people with disabilities. Other worker benefits would include universal paid sick days and 12 weeks of family and medical leave per year.
He also would pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act that would make it easier for workers to organize unions and collectively bargain.
Finally, Biden plans to put forth the Paycheck Fairness Act “to ensure women are paid equally for equal work.”
Biden’s agenda also made reference to the larger businesses and chains in corporate America, adding that he wants to ensure that large corporations “pay their fair share in taxes” and put workers first by respecting employees’ power and “voices in the workplace.”
He further goes on to outline a plan where he would reverse President Trump’s tax cuts for wealthy corporations and to invest instead into workers, particularly communities of color.
“Those who argue we can’t afford these investments are the same people who doled out trillions in giveaways to the wealthy and corporations the past three years,” the agenda outlined.
The Biden-Harris transition team includes COVID-19 advisory board, led by a team of health and science experts including former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and Associate Dean for Health Equity Research at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Other members of Biden’s transition team advisory board include Cindy McCain (chair of the board of trustees of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and widow of the late Sen. John McCain), Biden senior advisor Anita Dunn, former senator Ted Kaufman, mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg, Ambassador Susan Rice, and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates.
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