• Thomas Parker

Joe Biden shares ideas on policy, virus response

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden laid out a plan to deal with the coronavirus if he wins the election in November that would feature a no-expenses-spared federal approach.

This is a contrast to the Trump administration, which has opted for a largely state-led response to the pandemic, with some guidance and assistance provided by the federal government.

Biden's campaign argues that without Trump in office, and with a greater commitment to meeting state and local needs, there won't be as much division over how to address the virus. "I don’t think you'd see the politicization of the response that you see today," said Ariana Berengaut, a Biden policy adviser.

Biden's centralized plan would create a federal Pandemic Testing Board to oversee efforts to produce more testing supplies, coordinate test distribution, and create guidance for who should be tested. The government would also pay for testing for every worker who is called back to work, and set up a national contact tracing workforce of at least 100,000 employees.

Biden said he would use the Defense Production Act to ramp up supply production of personal protective equipment as well as have the federal government cover the cost of keeping laid-off workers on their employer health plans, provide paid leave for those infected, and expand unemployment benefits.

The Biden campaign has not provided an estimate of the cost of his policy positions, or the methodology they would use to pay for it. However, Biden did tell wealthy donors this week that he would repeal most of Trump's tax cuts, even though it may raise the taxes of those attending. The event raised $2 million for the Biden campaign.

“I’m going to get rid of the bulk of Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut,” Biden said, “and a lot of you may not like that but I’m going to close loopholes like capital gains and stepped-up basis.”

Biden also said he would raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, which he said would raise an estimated $1.3 trillion over the next decade. The Trump tax cuts had shrunk corporate taxes to 21% from 35%.

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