The president-elect of U.S.A Joe Biden, has promised to undo large parts of Trump’s policies in various areas from health care to immigration.
Much will depend on the makeup of Congress and whether the government remains divided. His more aggressive plans likely wouldn’t pass a Republican-controlled Senate.
There are also a few areas—from China to drug prices and big tech—where Mr. Biden’s policies aren’t likely to differ greatly from those of Mr. Trump.
Here’s a look at where Mr. Biden stands on a range of key policy issues:
Mr. Biden proposes the federal government play a more active and centralized role in responding to the crisis. He would urge all Americans to wear masks and work with state leaders on mask mandates. Mr. Biden would also restore funding to the World Health Organization, from which the president has been withdrawing the U.S.
Stimulus: Much remains uncertain until the makeup of Congress is known. Democrats could pursue at least partially reinstating an extra $600 in jobless aid that expired at the end of July and extend other emergency benefits slated to end Dec. 31. Mr. Biden has also supported providing state and local governments with financial relief so public-sector workers aren’t laid off. A divided government would provide Republicans with the leverage to get liability protections for businesses in cases where workers become ill with Covid-19, something Democrats have opposed.
Workplace Safety: Mr. Biden has said he would push the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to establish an emergency standard to address worker safety during a pandemic. Such a standard would require an employer to submit a specific workplace-safety plan to OSHA.
Small Business: Aid to U.S. small businesses still struggling amid the pandemic is certain to be a priority for Mr. Biden. His platform calls for restructuring the Paycheck Protection Program, including heightened oversight and a provision guaranteeing eligible businesses with 50 employees or fewer would get relief. He would also increase small businesses’ access to capital through an initiative called the Small Business Opportunity Fund. Mr. Biden proposes using the fund to help expand lending to minority-owned businesses.
Affordable Care Act: Mr. Biden would seek to reverse Trump administration changes that have undermined the ACA. He has also called for bolstering the ACA by expanding federal subsidies. He would expand eligibility requirements for Medicare, and backs a public option plan that would let people buy into a government-run insurance plan. His plan would give everyone, including people with employer-provided health coverage, the choice to buy into a public option. That option also would automatically cover low-income residents in states that didn’t expand Medicaid but would have been eligible for the program if they had.
Medicare: Mr. Biden supports lowering Medicare’s age of eligibility to 60 years from 65. Doing so would increase Medicare spending overall, but it would shift some people from Medicaid to Medicare, and lower the number of people in employer-provided coverage. That, along with the use of the program’s greater negotiating power with hospitals and other health organizations, could reduce patient costs.
Drug Pricing: Mr. Biden proposes letting Medicare negotiate large discounts for drugs. He would set up an independent review board to determine the value of new drugs by comparing their prices with what is charged for them in other countries. He would seek to impose a tax penalty on drugmakers that raise the prices of certain drugs over the general inflation rate.
Mr. Biden will need congressional support for many of his boldest proposals including a plan to lower the age for Medicare enrollment and a public-option health plan. But he is likely to struggle to gain support from Republicans.
Mr. Biden has promised to undo nearly all of the changes the Trump administration has made to U.S. immigration policy and vowed to cease building the border wall the day he takes office.
Legal Immigration: Mr. Biden has signaled he would take steps within his power to ease legal immigration to the U.S., reversing Mr. Trump’s attempts to restrict most legal pathways to the country.
Most of his bolder changes to the legal immigration system would take new legislation, and it isn’t yet known if Republicans in Congress would support such efforts. Mr. Biden, for example, has said he wants to provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the country who lack permanent legal status. He also advocates providing a path to legalization for farmworkers in the U.S. illegally.
Mr. Biden also wants to increase the number of employment-based visas awarded each year and eliminate country-based caps, which have created a decadeslong backlog for Indian immigrants in particular. Republicans are unlikely to support increasing the number of visas the U.S. awards each year.
Mr. Biden’s campaign platform has also raised some concern among business groups that he might favor some stricter policies regulating H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, along the lines of what Mr. Trump has pushed in office.
Refugees and Asylum: Mr. Biden has committed to taking in 125,000 refugees a year and changing the asylum process. He would hire more immigration judges to process a backlog of more than 1.1 million cases and provide immigrants with lawyers in immigration court. He would reverse the Trump administration’s determinations that domestic violence and gang persecution aren’t valid reasons for seeking asylum in the U.S.
Mr. Biden advocates a strategy of addressing the root causes that prompt migrants to leave their countries. During the Obama administration, he championed a plan passed in 2016 to provide $750 million in aid to Central American countries to curb poverty and violence.
Immigrant Detention and Deportation: Mr. Biden would maintain the agency responsible for carrying out deportations, whose abolition has been urged by some progressives in his party.
Mr. Biden has promised a 100-day deportation moratorium and has said he would focus only on deporting immigrants with criminal convictions in their home country or in the U.S.
Mr. Biden has pledged to stop contracting with for-profit detention centers and to shut down the nation’s three family jails. Families would instead be released into the country with ankle bracelets or other tracking methods while waiting for their court dates.
Mr. Biden has said his Justice Department would use its power to hold entire cities accountable for police misconduct by conducting far-ranging investigations into police departments, known as pattern-and-practice probes. He has also said his attorney general would advocate passage of legislation lowering the bar for bringing civil-rights cases against police officers and banning the use of chokeholds.
Mr. Biden has said publicly he doesn’t want to strip agencies of their funds and would instead boost their budgets for programs like community policing. He is advocating an Obama-era program to employ the broad use of clemency for certain nonviolent and drug crimes and more resources for public defenders’ offices. He has also proposed ending the disparity between crack and powder-cocaine sentences, decriminalizing the use of marijuana and automatically expunging all previous cannabis-use convictions.
Mr. Biden would raise taxes sharply on corporations and high-income households with the goal of raising $3 trillion to $4 trillion over a decade for education, health care and other social programs. But he is unlikely to accomplish much without Democrats winning full control of Congress.
Individual taxes: Mr. Biden would keep the tax cuts that Mr. Trump signed in 2017 for households making less than $400,000. He has also proposed tax increases on high-income households. He would raise the top individual tax rate to 39.6%, from 37%, expand the 12.4% Social Security payroll tax, and repeal a 20% deduction for income from pass-through businesses and impose new limits on itemized deductions.
He would nearly double the top capital-gains tax rate to 39.6% for households with income exceeding $1 million. Mr. Biden’s plan also includes tax cuts, such as repealing the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction and offering targeted tax credits for middle-income households.
Corporate taxes: Mr. Biden would raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, impose a minimum tax on U.S. companies and raise taxes on the foreign income of many U.S.-based multinational companies. Mr. Biden also backs tax incentives to encourage domestic manufacturing.
Mr. Biden would wipe away undergraduate debt for tuition at public colleges and private colleges that predominantly serve minority students for households earning less than $125,000. He would also sweeten the terms of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program for workers employed by government agencies at all levels and many nonprofits.
For debt that isn’t forgiven, Mr. Biden proposes slashing monthly payments. Individuals earning less than $25,000 a year and couples earning less than $50,000 would pay nothing toward their loans until their incomes rose above those levels. Other borrowers would pay 5% of their discretionary income a month, down from 10% currently.
Mr. Biden proposes making four years of public college tuition-free for students from households earning less than $125,000 a year.
If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, Mr. Biden would likely face an obstacle in his debt-forgiveness and free-college plans.
Mr. Biden calls climate change an urgent crisis and has proposed the most aggressive climate agenda of any major presidential finalist.
Mr. Biden has promised to keep the U.S. in the 2015 Paris climate accord. He has pledged to move the U.S. toward eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, with the power sector to end its emissions by 2035.
To reach those goals, Mr. Biden has proposed a mix of financial incentives, regulatory mandates and new laws that may face a stiff challenge in Congress.
He also has proposed spending $2 trillion over four years for projects to help reduce those emissions, to harden infrastructure for extreme weather and to help revive the economy. Those efforts focus on renewable energy and efficiency as well as rebuilding the country’s electric grid, roads and bridges and expanding mass transit in every city of more than 100,000 people.
He has also called for upgrading more than four million buildings to improve efficiency, and boost research and development on clean-energy technology, including commercial battery storage and advanced nuclear power.
Mr. Biden wants to give communities hurt by pollution—often poor and minority communities—more direct involvement with Justice Department efforts to pursue cleanups.
Mr. Biden also called for “carbon adjustment fees”—a term for tariffs—and quotas on imports from nations that don’t meet climate targets.
But his most ambitious plans are unlikely to get through Congress if the Republicans retain control of the Senate.
Mr. Trump’s election in 2016 led to the biggest shift in U.S. trade policy since World War II. Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 could reverse direction again.
Perhaps the biggest difference between a second Trump term and a Biden administration would be trade relations with U.S. allies. Mr. Biden says he will woo allies battered by Trump trade sanctions, rethink the use of tariffs and try to create a united front to confront China.
But multilateralism also presents some tough trade-offs. European countries are bound to demand a lifting of steel tariffs imposed by Mr. Trump and backed by Mr. Biden’s labor allies.
Mr. Biden has also dangled the possibility that he would join a renegotiated trade pact among 11 Pacific Rim nations, once called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Mr. Trump scrapped on his first working day in office.
U.S. Alliances: Mr. Biden has signaled he would close ranks with NATO allies and has said he would review Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany.
Iran and North Korea: Mr. Biden favors returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, on the condition that Tehran, too, abides by the agreement, whose uranium enrichment limits it breached after Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw. Mr. Biden has said he would coordinate with China and other nations to negotiate the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
Troop Deployments: Mr. Biden has said he would bring most U.S. troops home from Afghanistan and the Middle East, while focusing the mission on countering al Qaeda and Islamic State. He hasn’t spelled out longer-term plans for troops in Iraq and Syria.
Russia and Arms Control: Mr. Biden says his goal is to reduce nuclear weapons’ role in U.S. military doctrine. He favors an extension of New START as a foundation for new arrangements.
Middle East: Relations with Saudi Arabia would be far cooler under Mr. Biden. He has pledged to end U.S. arms sales to the kingdom and called “a reassessment of our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” citing its war in Yemen and the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr. Biden has long cast himself as a strong Israel supporter and promises to maintain its military edge. He has backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and cautioned against Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank.
The hard line the U.S. has taken on China in recent years is likely to continue under a Biden administration. Mr. Biden’s advisers have said they share the Trump administration’s assessment of China as an authoritarian rival intent on disrupting the American-led global order. A Biden administration is likely to maintain efforts started by Mr. Trump to reduce American dependence on Chinese manufacture of critical goods.
Mr. Biden has promised to compete with China in strategic sectors such as artificial intelligence and next-generation 5G wireless networks, and to confront Beijing’s efforts to erode the U.S. lead in technology through cyberattacks, forced technology transfers and luring American-trained scientists to work in China.
While Mr. Biden agrees with the president on the threat China poses, Mr. Biden has called Mr. Trump’s trade war “erratic” and emphasized the need to coordinate an allied response to Beijing’s trade practices.
But the tariffs that cover roughly three-quarters of everything China sells to the U.S. could meet with opposition among congressional Democrats and are likely to remain, at least in the early part of a Biden administration.