Most immediately, the president-elect will tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and establish a coronavirus task force on Monday. The Washington Post reports that the task force will be co-chaired by former surgeon general Vivek H. Murthy and David Kessler, who was once a commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Biden’s campaign views his response to the virus as the key reason for his win. He plans to immediately appoint a supply commander to manage production and distribution of testing, PPE, and a vaccine, when it’s ready.
Within hours of taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, the president-elect will send a letter to the UN saying that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris climate accord, the agreement that unifies the world's effort to fight climate change, according to The New York Times.
Biden also plans to reverse the nation’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, repeal the ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries, and reinstate DACA. But in order to carry out these actions, he might have to rely on executive orders more than he hoped; and a narrowly divided Congress could impede his ability to take broad legislative actions on immigration and more.
While the Democrats have a slim majority in the House, the majority in the Senate remains undecided. The final makeup of the Senate will only be determined on Jan. 5 when two runoff elections are held in Georgia. Democrats will have to win both races to control the Senate, with vice president-elect Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaking vote. The Republicans would preserve their majority by winning at least one seat.
“The policy team, the transition policy teams, are focusing now very much on executive power,” an anonymous Biden ally told The Post. “I expect that to be freely used in a Biden administration at this point, if the Senate becomes a roadblock.”
Beyond that, he's looking to present a bill to Congress that repeals liability protections for gun manufacturers and close background-check loopholes. He has also vowed to repeal the Republican-passed tax cuts from 2017, which could be obstructed by a Republican Senate majority. However, he doesn’t need congressional approval to reverse Trump’s rollback of 100 public health and environmental rules from the Obama administration.
Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), who holds the seat Biden had for 36 years, gave The Post an overview of Biden’s introductory agenda: “Get us out of this pandemic that’s been made far worse by Trump’s bungled mishandling of it, rebuild our economy in a way that’s more sustainable and more inclusive, and deal with division and inequality.”
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