Best Chances for Policy Compromise

Written on .

The first and most obvious area of compromise involves dealing with the pandemic.  Both parties support additional pandemic relief, including stimulus spending.  Republicans want less than $1 trillion, while Democrats want more than $2 trillion.  Controversial portions of any compromise include Republican demands for some protection for business from pandemic claims, while Democrats want more aid for state and local governments. 

Compromises could likely include additional federal supplements to state unemployment that have expired, more Pay Check Protection Program loans for firms, and expanding the employee retention tax credit.

The next best bet for a legislative compromise is infrastructure.  Both parties have proposed significant infrastructure programs during the Trump Administration, and there is room for consensus on the general approach.  The main reason for a lack of compromise on this issue in the past has been the details of the program, including the price of the program and possibly climate-change aspects.

Although not necessarily an area of policy compromise, an area where there is likely to be less change than might be anticipated, is healthcare.  There is a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, California v. Texas, challenging the legality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which could conceivably have had the result of invalidating the entire law.  At the oral argument in this case on November 10, 2020, however, a majority of the Justices indicated that the law will likely stand, with little or no change.  Thus, there will be no immediate need for legislation as to the ACA.

Further, Mr. Biden has resisted calls from his party's liberal wing of Medicare for All, although he does favor adding a public option similar to Medicare.  There would not be sufficient legislative support of the public option, however.  Mr. Biden could likely undo the various Trump Administration regulatory changes to the ACA.  These regulatory changes would include discontinuing waivers that allow some states to avoid certain ACA coverage requirements.

Another area of potential consensus and thus legislation include a federal paid leave program.  Business has an interest in a federal paid leave program that would pre-empt or negate state and local paid leave laws.  Both Republican and Democrat legislators have proposed federal leave programs, some on a bipartisan basis.  Therefore, this would seem to be an area in which federal legislation might be bipartisan.

A more controversial area in which legislation will definitely be proposed pertains to the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour.  The last increase to the federal minimum wage passed in 2007, and increases in the federal minimum wage are politically popular among both Republicans and Democrats.  Eight states, including Florida, have passed laws that will eventually bring the minimum wage to $15.00.  Mr. Biden wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.00, but many believe that increasing costs during the pandemic is not wise.  A 2019 analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 by 2025 would boost the income of 17 million Americans, but would also cause 1.3 million to lose their jobs.  Losses would fall heavily on low-income workers without a high school diploma.  Most commentators believe that there will not be enough Republican support for a major increase of the minimum wage, but this writer believes that smaller changes are possible if not likely.

On immigration, Mr. Biden will likely seek to reverse President Trump's administrative attempts to limit immigration, but bold changes will likely need legislation.  Mr. Biden will likely be able to increase the number of employer-based visas awarded each year and eliminate country-based caps, as well as taking in more refugees and changing the asylum process.  He will likely limit deportations to those with serious criminal convictions.  He will likely continue the legality of allowing remaining and working in the U.S. for Dreamers, immigrants who came into the country illegally as children.  The favoring of more immigration is largely supported by industries that struggle to fill positions. 

This is part of our December 2020 Newsletter.

Click here to download the newsletter PDF

Get Email Updates

Receive newsletters and alerts directly in your email inbox. Sign up below.

Recent Content

communication bubble

E21: Employee Communication with Special Guest Louise Hughes

In this episode, we talk with Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones' office manager Louise Hughes about the importance of effective em...
Bruce r. thompson courthouse and federal building, south virginia street, reno, nv, usa

Supreme Court Gives New Grounds for Challenging Federal Regulations

Over the years, an increasing part of this country's legal system has been based not on laws passed by legislators or the Congress, but o...
Mask pattern on blue background

Recent Trends in Covid-19 Litigation

Many businesses purchase business interruption insurance to protect the company against disasters.  Almost 2,000 lawsuits have been filed...
Black Lives Matter sign, outdoors

Black Lives Matter Buttons and Bans Result in Various Legal Rulings

Cases are starting to come out now dealing with the subject of whether an employer can ban buttons pertaining to the Black Lives Matter (...
old man walking dogs outdoors

"Old White Man" Allowed to Sue Employer's Diversity and Inclusion Plan

In DiBenedetto v. AT&T Services, Inc., a 58-year-old White male defeated the defendant AT&T's efforts to dismiss his case in conn...
union sign, outdoors

E20: Union Activity in the Workplace

In this episode, host Thom Jennings and attorney Kathleen Jennings discuss union activity in the workplace and how an employer can spot i...

Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine

3400 Peachtree Road, Ste 400 / Lenox Towers / Atlanta, GA 30326 /404.365.0900

Where Experience Counts

Thank you for visiting the firm's website. Please note that this website is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute an offer of representation or create an attorney-client relationship with the firm. The firm welcomes receipt of electronic mail but the act of sending electronic mail alone does not create an attorney-client relationship. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include the firm's copyright notice.

© 2022 Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine P.C. | Site By JSM