Biden unveils proposal to reopen the economy, slams Trump's 'one-point plan'

Biden promised the federal government would provide and pay for COVID-19 tests "for every worker called back to work."
Image: Joe Biden speaks at the Presidential Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, 2019.
Joe Biden speaks at the Presidential Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, 2019.Bridget Bennett / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Adam Edelman

Joe Biden on Thursday blasted President Donald Trump for failing to offer a comprehensive plan on how to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, while also unveiling his own proposals on how how to do so safely.

At an in-person round-table discussion with community leaders in Philadelphia, Biden said the federal government had "abdicated any effective leadership role" in responding to the pandemic and reopening the economy, and slammed Trump for having "basically a one-point plan" that focused solely on "opening business."

The former vice president, in turn, offered his own multifaceted plan to safely reopen businesses in the United States.

Under Biden’s plan, the federal government would, he said, provide and pay for COVID-19 tests "for every worker called back to work" and would "ensure access" to all workers to personal protective equipment.

Biden also promised that workers and unions would "have a voice" in any reopening plans put forth by the federal government and said his administration would offer federal paid leave for workers that become sick with the virus.

The presumptive Democratic nominee reiterated a previous vow to hire a vaccine czar who would be charged with securing widespread accessibility.

A statement provided by the campaign after the event began said Biden also promised to build a national contract tracing workforce and launch a “safer for shoppers” program, designed to increase consumer confidence, that would essentially identify and certify businesses that have met testing and other criteria.

At Thursday’s event, Biden was seated at the center of several tables, with the other members of the event sitting at appropriate social distances. Temperature checks were done for everyone entering the event, the campaign said.

The event was Biden’s latest step back onto the campaign trail. After months of virtual campaign events filmed from his home in Delaware, Biden has in recent weeks held more in-person events.

Earlier this week, he traveled to Houston to visit privately with the family of George Floyd, and last week, he gave a speech at Philadelphia City Hall to a small audience of lawmakers that served as his first large and lengthy public response to Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.