First industry reactions to Biden victory

Former Vice President Joe Biden was elected 46th President of the United States. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Saturday’s news that former Vice President Joseph Biden would be the next president of the United States was met with dancing in the streets from his supporters, statements of congratulations from industry organizations and ideas of what could happen to travel and hospitality in a Biden administration.

Congratulations

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement on the election results:

“The American travel industry congratulates President-elect Joe Biden on his victory.

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“We applaud President-elect Biden’s objective of helping the industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The travel industry accounts for more than a third of overall U.S. unemployment, and policies to promote relief, recovery, and stimulus for travel businesses are integral to a U.S. economic turnaround.

“We share the emphasis on combating the spread of COVID-19 expressed by the president-elect while building economic growth. The right combination of technologies and behaviors already exists to allow the restart of travel without compromising health and safety, and making rapid and reliable testing more widely available will be a key element of an even broader economic reopening.

“There is a dire need to protect and sustain jobs in every single congressional district, and enacting the policies to do that will require the political parties to come together. We stand ready to work closely with the Biden administration and both chambers of Congress to achieve policy goals that revive our economy and bring our country together—a hallmark of the travel industry.”

The Office and Professional Employees International Union, meanwhile, said the election was “a victory for working families throughout this country,” and that members expected to work with the administration “to re-establish and further the interests of all working Americans.” 

What Could Happen

While unions may be pleased with the election results, other businesses that thrived under Trump’s deregulation may not feel the same way. As noted on legal news site Law360, Biden is expected to move toward a more tightly regulated business environment, particularly in areas like the environment and consumer protection, and also will be more likely to beef up enforcement of existing laws.

Kevin O'Neill, chair of Arnold & Porter's legislative practice group, told the legal website that Biden's election sets the course for thousands of regulatory and legislative decisions that shape marketplace conditions for every business and citizen. Reforms the Biden campaign focused on include tighter environmental regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, new legislation to supplement the Affordable Care Act, changes to reverse tax cuts ushered in under Trump and a shift in immigration policy.

One factor that could please businesses, however, is the potential long-delayed passage of the extension to the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act submitted by House Democrats in September. Included in the proposal is more funding and modifications to the long-stalled Paycheck Protection Program, including allowing hard-hit businesses to apply for a second loan and creating a more streamlined application and forgiveness process. Specifically, the legislation proposes to set aside funds for businesses with fewer than 10 employees, sole proprietors, the self-employed and nonprofits. 

The bill also would provide relief to several industries that have been crippled by the pandemic, with $25 billion earmarked for U.S. airlines to help avoid layoffs and $120 billion in aid to the restaurant industry.

In the earliest hours of trading on Monday, stock markets across the world reported elevated trading numbers, according to the Independent. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index rose 2.6 percent when the market opened and later closed up 2.1 percent at a level not seen since 1991. As other markets opened, news of an effective COVID-19 vaccine also helped drive other stock markets to higher numbers.