Joe Biden presidency: What this means for taxes, health care, housing, student debt, and Covid-19

PRESIDENT-elect Joe Biden plans to move quickly to build out his government, focusing first on the pandemic.

He will become the 46th president on January 20, 2021.

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Taxes

Biden is calling for higher taxes on corporations and the rich while expanding tax credits for middle-class and lower-income Americans.

Biden released a slew of tax proposals on October 18, days before facing off with President Donald Trump during the third presidential debate.

Several of the former vice president's proposals are aimed at tax breaks for working class Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Biden said he would roll back Trump's 2017 tax cuts for people earning more than $400,000, increasing the top individual income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent.

Under his plan, earnings above $400,000 would also be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.

Health care

Biden has vowed to protect the Affordable Care Act from continued attacks.

The president-elect "opposes every effort to get rid of this historic law – including efforts by Republicans, and efforts by Democrats," according to his campaign website.

"Instead of starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance, he has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate," the website reads.

What does Joe Biden say about gun control?

Biden wants to ban assault weapons, enforce more stringent background checks, and end the sale of firearms and ammunitions online.

Biden's gameplan would close several loopholes in existing legislation and repeal a law that makes it harder to sue gunmakers and retailers when they manufacture or sell guns they should have known would have been used criminally.

Although Biden is a gun owner himself, he's long supported a stricter interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Biden criticized America's "problem with guns" in an August 2019 op-ed published in the New York Times.

"We have a huge problem with guns, assault weapons – military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly – are a threat to our national security, and we should treat them as such," he wrote.

"Anyone who pretends there's nothing we can do is lying – and holding that view should be disqualifying for anyone seeking to lead our country."

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.

Biden "believes that every American has a right to the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have access to affordable, quality health care."

The US Supreme Court is slated to review the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, later this month.

Housing

The Biden campaign wrote that housing "should be a right, not a privilege."

"Today, however, far too many Americans lack access to affordable and quality housing," according to the campaign website.

"Nationwide, we have a shortage of available, affordable housing units for low-income individuals.

Tens of millions of Americans spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing – leaving them with nowhere near enough money left over to meet other needs, from groceries to prescription drugs.

"And, tens of millions of Americans live in homes that endanger their health and safety."

Once he reaches the White House, Biden wants to invest "$640 billion over 10 years so every American has access to housing that is affordable, stable, safe and healthy, accessible, energy efficient and resilient, and located near good schools and with a reasonable commute to their jobs."

Student debt

Biden said he would forgive $10,000 in student debt for all borrowers.

The statement by the president-elect came as millions of Americans were suffering early in the coronavirus pandemic.

"No bill should pass without conditions on corporations to ensure the help they get goes to their workers, not their CEOs. No blank checks," candidate Biden tweeted on March 22.

"No bill should pass without immediate, generous relief for workers who are losing jobs and hours, small businesses losing revenue, and communities facing emergency needs."

He added: "Additionally, we should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans, as proposed by Senator Warren and colleagues. Young people and other student debt holders bore the brunt of the last crisis. It shouldn't happen again."

Biden was referring to a proposal made by a group of Democratic senators that included Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer.

Covid-19

For starters, Biden named the members of a team of public health and science experts to develop a blueprint for fighting the coronavirus.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general, and a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, David Kessler, were named co-chairs of the task force.

Biden stressed that Americans should continue to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus.

“It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day,” Biden said on November 9, according to The New York Times.

“It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view.

"We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”

It was also revealed on November 9 that a "free" vaccine may be just weeks away.

Pfizer says interim findings from its large-scale clinical trial show it had 90 percent efficacy, which was better than expected.

The news came just hours after the US crossed the threshold of 10 million cases.

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