When President-elect Joe Biden , he’ll begin his term with a collection of issues that he and his administration intend to quickly address. While Biden will look to Congress for help to pass laws on issues ranging from clean energy to immigration reform, if a doesn’t go through before Biden’s swearing in, there are some things he could immediately do before . (Here’s more on , which could include . Here’s what happens if a bill passes .)
If the Senate remains in Republican hands following the twin Georgia Senate runoff elections in January, Biden could follow the path in August — when he temporarily renewed , and student-loan-interest deferrals after Congress failed to act — to quickly address specific areas of need.
The incoming administration has already identified a range of issues it could address through executive powers — including rejoining the Paris climate agreement and instituting new ethics guidelines for the White House — but Biden could also use an executive order or memo as a stop-gap before another bill were to come to a vote.
(For more information, here’s what we know about, how much to your specific household, and in another round.)
Here are four economic areas a Biden administration could potentially address through issuing executive orders.
Authorize larger unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans
Biden has the power to spend rests with Congress and not the President, Biden would need to find a funding source for the aid, much as Trump did in August when he tapped unused FEMA money for his extension.an expansion of the authorized under the . Trump in August signed an order extending unemployment benefits past a July 31 expiration, at a lower weekly level. Because
(Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin closed off another source of funding for Biden’s potential executive action that had been available to the Federal Reserve to use emergency lending when he requested the Fed return to the Treasury unused funds from the program.)
Set a minimum wage, starting with workers on federal contracts
During Biden’s campaign, the incoming president talked about raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, up from the current $7.25 an hour. Without Congressional support, Biden will not be able to raise the federal minimum wage, but he could get part way there through an increase to the minimum wage of workers on federal contracts.
Biden could accomplish the increase through an executive order, according to Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist and the director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute. The hourly boost could affect the pay of 5 million workers, Shierholz estimated.
Defer student loan payments without interest
With a deferment for student-loan repayments set to expire Dec. 31, Biden could and extend the deferral into 2021. That means students could postpone making loan repayments until further into 2021.
Along with a short-term fix, Biden could also look at forgiving student loans, based on a plan he outlined in his Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy, where he proposed cancelling a minimum of $10,000 for federal student loans.
Renew the eviction moratorium for unpaid rent
If Congress doesn’t put a hold on evictions beforeruns out on Dec. 31, Biden can also use an executive order to keep landlords from evicting their tenants for not paying rent during the pandemic. Tenants could still be evicted for other reasons.
The precedent set by Trump’s administration was to invoke a rare law exercised by the Centers for Disease Control aimed at limiting the spread of disease by keeping people in their homes and out of homeless shelters or from crossing state lines.
Some of what Biden will be able to quickly accomplish will depend on the Georgia Senate runoffs, which could potentially give Democrats a slim control of the Senate if both Democratic challengers win.
With the, here’s what we know about , unless Congress acts, and where things stand on .