Research from the Congressional Budget Office in 2019 suggested that raising the wage to $15 nationally could increase pay for tens of millions of workers, though potentially at some cost to jobs — perhaps 1.3 million people who would otherwise work would not be, in part because employers would reduce payroll.
Jan. 15, 2021, 5:14 a.m. ET
States and localities could get help.
Mr. Biden’s plan would provide $440 billion in help to communities, according to the administration, in addition to the funds for school reopening. The relief plan would entail billions in grants and loan programs for small businesses (how those would work is not entirely clear), and $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments.
State and local governments have had revenues decline less as a whole than once anticipated, but have taken an uneven financial hit from the pandemic. They have significantly reduced payrolls, which is concerning because they employ about 13 percent of America’s workers.
Public health measures are at the fore.
Mr. Biden is asking for $160 billion in funding for a national vaccination program, expanded testing, a public health jobs program and other steps meant to fight the virus, according to the administration’s summary.
The plan would invest $20 billion in a national vaccination program “in partnership with states, localities, tribes and territories,” and would try to ensure that people can receive shots free regardless of immigration status. About $50 billion would go toward improving testing, and $40 billion would be earmarked for shoring up protective gear and supplies, deploying emergency response personnel and improving supply manufacturing.
The plan would expand paid leave.
Mr. Biden would renew paid leave provisions that were not extended as part of the December package, while eliminating exemptions for big and small employers. The plan would allow for 14 weeks of paid sick and family and medical leave for caregivers dealing with closed schools or care centers, while providing for a $1,400 leave benefit for eligible workers.
State and local governments and employers with fewer than 500 employees would be reimbursed for the costs via a refundable tax credit. Emergency leave provisions would last through the end of September.