What to expect from the Biden Administration
In this 1-hour webinar, a cross-sector panel of experts discuss how the Biden Administration is likely to change public policy in Congress and the White House and what that means for your company and community.
Moderator: Evan Kraus, President & Managing Director of Operations, APCO Worldwide
- Larry Di Rita , Greater Washington, DC Market President, Bank Of America
- Bart Gordon, Partner, K&L Gates
- John Mayo, Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Business and Public Policy, Georgetown University
- Karishma Page, Partner, K&L Gates
Read the summary
Priorities for the Incoming Biden Administration
Clearly, getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control, preventing more mass casualties, and getting our economy back on track are going to be top priorities for the Biden Administration. All panelists agreed that Biden must prioritize testing, contact tracing, distribution of a vaccine, and passing a stimulus deal. (Which, John Mayo thinks will not happen in the lame duck session.)
But there are other major priorities that will compete for the Biden Administration’s attention and resources. Larry Di Rita explained that all incoming administrations have a list of executive orders ready to go on day one, and that this is a way to set the tone early in their tenure. He expects Biden to release early executive orders on immigration and climate change.
Bart Gordon said that Biden will have to “walk and chew gum at the same time,” citing rebuilding our reputation with foreign allies as one of those other projects. Gordon also said it would be important for the Biden Administration to meaningfully engage on climate, both because it’s the right thing to do and because it is a way to build bridges with the progressives in the Democratic party. He can start by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and rolling back some deregulations from the Trump Administration.
What the policy landscape may look like…
On SBA loans and stimulus
Karishma Page pointed out that there will be a great deal of scrutiny and oversight of how stimulus dollars are allocated and spent. This will not likely result in retroactive rule changes to SBA loans, but there may be changes to the rules in future stimulus deals.
Larry expressed his view that the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should be considered a success, even if there is some room for improvement. There is tension between spending money correctly and see more of that money get pushed out, and we have an opportunity to fine-tune the program if it gets a chance to be continued.
Larry does not expect interest rates to increase above their very low rates anytime soon, and though the rising debt will need to be addressed, it does not need to be a priority in the short term. It will take a while to get to troubling levels of inflation, and getting stimulus spending out to people and businesses that need it is essential for economic recovery.
John pointed out that this recession has been demand-induced, so it lends itself to stimulus. But a nuance is that it is very idiosyncratic and depends on the sector—some have suffered, like restaurants and airlines, while others have done well, like the tech sector.
On tax policy
Karishma Page explained that the Biden campaign made it clear that review of tax policy is on the agenda, but a Republican Senate creates significant headwinds. However, that does not mean nothing will get done. A starting point is the stimulus for COVID-19, where tax policy can be used to stimulate economic activity.
There has been bipartisan interest in an infrastructure package, but there is continuing disagreement between the parties on how much to spend and how we are going to pay for it.
On the minimum wage
On scale of 1 to 100, Karishma puts the likelihood that the federal minimum wage will change at 30. There is some bipartisan interest in raising the wage, but very partisan disagreement remains on the amount. We will likely see more state and local jurisdictions raising minimum wages, which creates a patchwork of policy across the country and increases pressure for a federal minimum wage increase. The chances might increase as we get closer to the 2022 race because there are more republican members of congress in vulnerable seats.
On tech policy
John says he expects the debates to continue but Biden’s influence may bring down the heat and hyperbole.
Assuming republicans hold their majority in the Senate and the ACA is not overturned by the Supreme Court, Karishma believes there can be some bipartisan support for certain issues, like curbing surprise billing and providing price transparency. There are probably not very big ramifications for employers.