Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday detailed his plan to pump stimulus spending into Black and brown-owned businesses and advance first-time homebuyers a $15,000 refundable tax credit as part of an economic plan focused on racial equity.
The proposal is the fourth and final plank of a “Build Back Better” economic agenda Biden has rolled out in weekly speeches throughout July. The first three planks focused on manufacturing, clean energy and what he called the “caregiving economy.”
The former vice president offered an overview of his proposal in a speech Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware – one in which Biden also slammed President Donald Trump’s handling of race and the economy, as he has done in each of his previous speeches laying out his economic agenda.
“He’s determined to stoke division and chaos. It’s not good for the country, but Donald Trump doesn’t care. His campaign is failing and he’s looking for a political lifeline,” Biden said.
Biden on Tuesday criticized Trump for deploying federal agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities during protests over racial inequality and police brutality.
“I said from the outset of the recent protests that there’s no place for violence or destruction of property,” Biden said. “Peaceful protesters should be protected, and arsonists and anarchists should be prosecuted. And local law enforcement can do that.”
Biden has lambasted Trump for emboldening racists over the course of his 2020 campaign, and called the President racist at a recent fundraiser. In the wake of the George Floyd shooting and protests against racial injustice and police violence across the nation, the former vice president has broken with some progressives on policy matters – he has said, for example, that he opposes defunding the police. But he has also backed a number of reforms, including beefing up Justice Department oversight of police departments and undoing Trump’s actions on immigration.
Hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus spending to help the economy rebound from the coronavirus pandemic are at the core of Biden’s plans. His racial equity plan would devote $30 billion to an effort to bolster small businesses owned by Black and brown people – money that would come from a $300 billion research and development stimulus fund he detailed earlier this month. His campaign said that $30 billion investment would in turn make $150 billion in venture capital and low-interest loans available.
Biden’s plan would help low- and middle-income people buy houses by advancing first-time buyers a refundable tax credit worth $15,000 that could be used toward a downpayment. Biden’s plan also aims to spur the construction of 1.5 million new homes and public housing units.
Much of the 26-page plan his campaign released Tuesday focused on how proposals Biden has already offered would close the racial wealth gap and bolster Black, brown, Asian and Native American families and businesses.
One new proposal would aim to help states modernize their criminal justice data and record-keeping infrastructure – and would automatically seal records for categories of non-violent offenses selected by each state.
“This data infrastructure will facilitate sealing of records in a manner that is precise, complete and efficient – so those records are not used to deny people jobs, housing, voting rights, school loans and other opportunities to rebuild their lives,” Biden’s campaign said in the document detailing the plan.
Biden’s plan does not include baby bonds, a proposal that New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker advanced during the Democratic primary that would have the federal government deposit money into a savings account for every child born in the United States each year until that child turns 18, at which point it could be used to cover costs like college tuition or a downpayment on a house.
This story has been updated with additional details from Biden’s speech.