One source said that Biden planned to propose spending $100 billion a year on clean energy procurement during his administration. Warren had pitched $150 billion annually.
A promise to rebuild the American middle class has been at the core of Biden's campaign, and was criticized for being too incremental while candidates like Warren and Bernie Sanders pitched "big structural change." But as the coronavirus pandemic has dragged down the economy, Biden has suggested there's a need for bigger change and that voters will have the appetite for it.
"The blinders have been taken off," Biden said an April fundraiser. "Because of this COVID crisis, I think people are realizing: 'My Lord, look at what is possible.'"
But most of the more progressive ideas, like the Green New Deal and other large jobs programs that also hark back to the Franklin Roosevelt policies of the Great Depression, will likely be left behind at the beginning in favor of a more step-by-step approach, the Biden campaign says.
Biden needs to attract Republicans weary of the Trump administration and independents, as well as Democrats in order to win the White House.
Steph Sterling, vice president for advocacy and policy at the Roosevelt Institute, and others on the left say they would like to see Biden contemplate a jobs guarantee or other measures that would be more in the vein of Roosevelt's New Deal.
But a Biden adviser said such policies are not being seriously considered, though the candidate has proposed creating a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps that would employ 100,000 people.
Biden did offer some parameters in April, adding, "Look at the institutional changes we can make without us becoming a socialist country or any of that malarkey that we can make to provide the opportunities to change the institutional drawbacks." The U.S., he said, is "one of the few countries in the world, whatever crisis they're faced with we've overcome it and we always come out stronger, better. We have a chance to really move the ball forward in the next three or four years."
If Biden wins the presidency, he will be walking into a far different economy than he would have faced before the pandemic.
"If Biden is president he will be up against this just incredibly, incredibly weak economy," said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, and a former chief economist at the U.S. Labor Department in the Obama administration. "Regardless of what's going on with COVID, whether there's a vaccine or widespread mask-wearing or not, it will be a hugely depressed economy."