Biden’s first weeks: COVID, stimulus, executive orders – analysis

Written by on November 8, 2020

President-elect to focus on domestic policy in opening moves.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden celebrates onstage at his election rally, after the news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election over President Donald Trump, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 7, 2020. (photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden celebrates onstage at his election rally, after the news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election over President Donald Trump, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 7, 2020.

(photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – US President-elect Joe Biden ran a campaign that was almost solely focused on fighting coronavirus. Now, as the US recorded four straight days of more than 100,000 cases, his first mission will be to try to “get the virus under control,” a complicated task that demands coordination within a potentially divided Congress.

During his victory speech on Saturday, Biden said he will on Monday appoint a transition team of scientists that will translate his campaign plan to fight COVID-19 to an actual work plan that could be executed “on January 20, 2021.”

Biden said during the second presidential debate that he would make sure that schools and businesses have the resources to open up safely, and mentioned personal protective equipment and plexiglas in schools and restaurants.

To allocate these funds, Biden will need to reach across the aisle and work together with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. The White House was engaged in negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and McConnell to agree a stimulus package before the election, to no avail. Biden, who ran as a unifier, will have to bring the sides together – and it’s not going to be easy.

Before the election, Biden said that he will appoint a bipartisan committee to discuss a possible reform to the Supreme Court. He said that the committee would have 180 days to recommend how to make the judiciary less political. But with Senate control still up for grabs, he is unlikely to accomplish any such reform, unless the double Senate runoff in Georgia in January falls on the Democratic side.

The president-elect also vowed during the campaign to reverse US President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and to increase tax for those who earn more than $400,000 a year. Republicans are not likely to cooperate with this plan.

Biden will also seek Senate confirmation for his cabinet positions and it will make the Senate runoff in Georgia a dramatic one that will shape his first two years in office.

And without a clear majority in the Senate, Biden is expected to start his term with a series of executive orders. He intends to rejoin the Paris climate accord, reenter the World Health Organization and reverse Trump’s immigration policies regarding the “Dreamers,” and allowing travel to the US from nearly all Muslim-majority countries, according to a report in the New York Times.

Simone Sanders, adviser to the Biden campaign, said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that Biden “will make good on his promises at the campaign trail,” but would not specify if indeed he intends to sign all these executive orders on day one, as the reports suggested.

Whether Biden pursues these executive orders immediately after being inaugurated or not, his first weeks in office will be mainly focused on domestic policy, rather than foreign policy.

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