Joe Biden continues to copy President Trump’s coronavirus response. His COVID-19 proposal, which he unveiled in March, was compiled of actions the Trump White House was already undertaking. Biden has suggested corporations shouldn’t be able to use coronavirus payouts for stock buybacks. President Trump has prohibited that. Biden said he’d use the Defense Production Act – the day after President Trump initiated it.
Biden’s coronavirus plan largely cribs from President Trump’s actions. According to Breitbart:
Despite the tough rhetoric, many of the proposals Biden suggested for combatting the virus were, in fact, already central to the Trump administration’s efforts.
For instance, Biden’s plan calls for “no efforts” to be spared in getting private laboratories and universities to help test for the virus. The suggestion mirrors a move the Trump administration took in February in ordering the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow hundreds of academic hospitals and private laboratories to start testing for the coronavirus.
Similarly, the former vice president’s plan argues in favor of a federal relief effort for small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. The idea is identical to one Trump, himself, proposed on Wednesday, while addressing the nation in primetime. Trump’s version, which has been presented to Congress in the form of a $50 billion appropriation for low-interest loans to small businesses, includes detailed requirements for cost, eligibility, and implementation. Biden’s proposal, on the other hand, is vague in terms of cost, only stating the former vice president would push for the creation of a small-business loan program upon taking office.
Other core recommendations from Biden’s plan are indistinguishable from current Trump administration efforts.
Specifically, the former vice president’s proposal calls for revising existing laws and regulations to ensure insurance companies waive co-pays and deductibles for coronavirus testing and “any eventual vaccine.” Although Biden’s plan has an elaborate mechanism for ensuring such payments are waived, it remains unclear if such an extensive structural change is needed. The question is especially uncertain after Trump announced on Wednesday that he had convinced insurance providers to commit to waiving the costs for coronavirus. Trump has also secured other important concessions, including the expansion of coverage for treatment across all insurance plans. While this means that an eventual vaccine for the virus would not necessarily be free, portions of the cost would likely be covered.
Likewise, the former vice president’s pledge to “accelerate” the development of a vaccine is something the Trump administration has undertaken. In January, officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced they were fast-tracking the development of a coronavirus vaccine in anticipation of potential outbreak. At the time, health officials were hoping that a streamlined process would ensure the vaccine was ready for clinical trials by at least May. Biden’s proposal does not elaborate on how it would expedite the process any further, apart from stating the NIH “must be responsible for the clinical trial networks and work closely with the FDA on trial approvals.”
Moreover, Biden criticized the president for blocking travel from China in early January, calling the move, which saved lives as “xenophobic.” He also has lying about the President’s actions against the virus, by saying the current administration made no effort to get U.S. experts into China to help stop the spread.
According to Factcheck.org:
Former Vice President Joe Biden was wrong when he said that the Trump administration made no effort to get U.S. medical experts into China as the novel coronavirus epidemic spread there early this year.
“[W]hen we were talking … early on in this crisis, we said — I said, among others, that, you know, you should get into China, get our experts there, we have the best in the world, get them in so we know what’s actually happening,” Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said at a CNN virtual town hall on March 27. “There was no effort to do that.”
Except that isn’t the case.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tried to get into China just one week after China reported the outbreak to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, 2019.
“On January 6, we offered to send a CDC team to China that could assist with these public health efforts,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a Jan. 28 press conference. “I reiterated that offer when I spoke to China’s Minister of Health on Monday, and it was reiterated again via the World Health Organization today. We are urging China: More cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take toward a more effective response.”
More than a week later, Azar said again at a Feb. 7 press conference that “our longstanding offer to send world-class experts to China to assist remains on the table.”
China simply blocked the efforts of the Trump administration — but not because there was no effort made.
Biden has no original thoughts on how to stop the coronavirus, and if his past handling of the swine-flu is any indication, his response would be lacking of the whole-of-government approach the Trump administration is currently deploying.