At town hall, Biden promises to clarify stance on court-packing, touts economic plan

The event was held in Philadelphia at the same time as Trump's Miami event.

Updated: October 15, 2020 - 10:02pm

Joe Biden during his Thursday town hall event pledged to clarify his stance on court-packing before the election and claimed his economic policies would create millions of new jobs and add hundreds of billions to the GDP. 

The event, held in Philadelphia, occurred at the same time as a similar town hall held by President Trump in Miami. The two events occurred in lieu of the scrapped second presidential debate, which was cancelled after the two candidates were unable to agree on the terms of the debate; Biden wished for the event to be virtual due to Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month, while Trump insisted the event should be in-person as planned.

Biden opened his town hall by defending his record on calling for COVID-19 mitigation efforts over the course of the pandemic since earlier in the year. 

“There should be a national standard” on coronavirus restrictions, Biden said, arguing that Trump didn’t “lead” in the early days of the pandemic.

He also argued that Trump did not adequately fund and support businesses and individuals slammed by the pandemic and the government-mandated closures that followed it. 

The government should provide "guidance" and "money" to businesses and schools, Biden said, in an effort to get the economy and society moving again. President Trump was doing "nothing" to help mitigate the virus and the fallout from it, he said. 

Biden says voters will learn of his stance on court-packing before election

At one point he claimed Trump would attempt to “wipe out” Obamacare at the Supreme Court, possibly a reference to Trump’s recent SCOTUS nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

“I believe it’s inconsistent, when millions of people have already voted, to put someone on the Court,” he said, arguing that the nomination should have waited until after the election.

Asked by George Stephanopoulos if he would consider packing the Supreme Court, Biden dodged the question, stating that “it depends” upon the circumstances after the election.

Yet he subsequently told Stephanopoulos he would come out with a plan on court packing prior to the election, though he did not specify when.

The Democratic presidential candidate at one point dodged a question about whether or not he would mandate Americans take any eventual COVID-19 vaccine, saying his decision would depend upon the state of the pandemic at the time the vaccine was released. 

On the economy, Biden argued that his economic and tax plans would lead to millions of newly created jobs and a huge boost to GDP.

“We’re going to invest a great deal of that money into infrastructure,” he said, saying much of the money would be put into green energy investments.

He told a young black questioner that he felt his intended policies would help black Americans get better educations and improved opportunities throughout their lives; he further cited the Obama administration’s funding of small business administrations throughout the country as a boon for black entrepreneurs during those years.

“It’s about accumulating wealth,” he said.

Addressing an often-raised question about his support of the 1994 federal crime bill, Biden said it was a “mistake” to support it, though he subsequently qualified that remark.

“The mistake came in terms of what the states did locally” with the bill, he said, arguing that local leaders made criminal penalties too severe.

On the issue of policing—a matter he has been confronted about repeatedly over the course of  his candidacy due to his sometimes equivocal stance on the matter—Biden vowed to establish a “national study group” of police, social workers and racial minorities “to sit down in the White House and … come up with significant reforms” regarding police work.

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