President-elect Joe Biden will take office in January with a lot of promises to keep and issues to tackle. He has pledged to undo many of Trump’s rollbacks on regulation, as well as provide swift stimulus to help tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Biden’s message-driven campaign pledges to restore the soul of the nation by addressing the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.
Biden himself aims to create a national COVID-19 strategy, creating a task force to urge governors to mandate mask-wearing, establish a plan to distribute vaccines, and to expand COVID-19 testing.
Biden has still not committed to creating a national mask mandate, opting to work with governors to impose their own mandates within their states.
On day one, Biden says he will release a vaccine-distribution plan, aiming to spend $25 billion on vaccine production and distribution. He is calling for the eventual vaccine to be free for all Americans.
Biden has already unveiled his COVID-19 task force, including well-known members of the medical community such as former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General. Biden hopes to use their expertise to guide COVID-19 policy and containment going forward.
Biden has also pledged to leverage the full scope of the Defense Production Act to expand the production of masks, face shields and other PPE such that the available supply exceeds demand.
On the economy, Biden has pledged to reinstate the 28% corporate tax rate, raising it from 21% set in the 2017 GOP legislation.
On climate change, Biden has committed to returning the US to the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Trump officially withdrew from on Nov. 4. In a recent tweet from Biden, he reaffirmed that the United States will rejoin the accord on the first day of his presidency.
The accord aims to keep global temperatures from rising over 2 degrees Celsius, with a target of keeping it below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Currently, 189 nations have ratified the accord, with another six having signed it, but not ratified it.
On immigration, Biden has promised to undo much of Trump’s immigration policies, according to his position paper, including 51 bullet points that fill 22 pages.
“As president, Biden will move immediately to ensure that the U.S. meets its responsibilities as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” according to a statement in his position paper.
Biden’s exhaustive list of policy to-do’s within his first 100 days includes broad proposals, such as protecting “Dreamers,” ending the national emergency that has siphoned money from the Department of Defense for the production of a border wall and rescinding Trump’s travel and refugee bans.
Biden also plans to urge Congress to modernize the US immigration system by creating a pathway to citizenship and preserving preferences for diversity.
Biden has also pledged to restore asylum seekers and support alternatives to detention, such as community case management. He also pledged to end prolonged detentions and deportations of “peaceable, hardworking migrants.”
On police reform, Biden pledges to increase police reform by instituting a national police oversight commission.
Biden says he will continue to urge Congress to pass the SAFE Justice Act in order to reduce recidivism and curtail overcriminalization.
Much of Biden’s plan hedges on the Democrats gaining control of the Senate. If Democrats fail to gain control of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could continue to block legislation, much like he has done with the HEROES Act, a COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives.
If Democrats fail to clinch 50 Senate seats in the Georgia runoff races, Biden could leverage his executive authority in order to provide immediate aid to Americans.
President Trump recently circumvented Congress to provide temporary and reduced unemployment assistance to Americans through the Lost Wages Assistance Program by using available FEMA funding. President Biden could leverage the same authority.
In a recent tweet from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), she urged President-elect Biden to cancel billions of dollars in student-loan debt in order to provide immediate relief to American families.
“Biden-Harris can cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, giving tens of millions of Americans an immediate financial boost and helping to close the racial wealth gap. This is the single most effective executive action available for a massive economic stimulus,” said Warren.
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