The Biden-Harris Administration Outlook

Nika Anderson, reporter

President-elect Joe Biden, along with vice president-elect Kamala Harris, have decided what they want to accomplish before and after inauguration day. Biden has announced his cabinet nominees and has been working with them to build his administration. He has prioritized fighting COVID-19 and has appointed a coronavirus task force to combat the pandemic. When he takes office, Biden promises to tackle healthcare issues and wants economic relief efforts in action. Of his many projects for the future, Biden wants to undo many decisions that were made during the Trump administration, such as reversing tax cuts for corporations, rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, restoring DACA, expanding Medicaid and the ACA. Biden has put a strong emphasis on protecting the environment during his campaign and wants to enforce a clean energy plan. The president-elect is committed to his agenda and has greatly detailed his plans about going forward and governing the country.

Biden’s transition team has announced the cabinet picks, assuming that the nominees will be confirmed by the Senate. Biden has named Ron Klain as the White House Chief of Staff; Klain has had previous experience as the Ebola-response coordinator during the Obama administration. His experience will be beneficial in dealing with the current health crisis. Former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is chosen to be the Treasury Secretary; she will be the first woman to hold this position. Biden nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to be the Attorney General. Garland is an experienced jurist who has worked at the federal appeals court in Washington for over 20 years and hopes to improve the Justice Department. Four-star general, Lloyd Austin has been selected to be Secretary of Defense, after serving in the Army for 41 years. He was the first African American commander of CENTCOM, nominated by Obama in 2013. The Secretary of State was announced to be Antony Blinken, who has been employed for 30 years during two U.S. administrations in senior foreign policy positions; he will be a competent addition to Biden’s national security team.

Biden has called the nationwide fight against COVID-19 his “number one priority” and has created an advisory board to accelerate the vaccine distribution effort. His coronavirus task force consists of 13 qualified physicians devoted to squelch the virus that has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans. The co-chairs include Vivek Murthy, who was surgeon general under President Barack Obama, former FDA commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine. These health experts will actively help in the prevention, response, and treatment plans for this pandemic. Biden plans on rejoining the WHO and reaching out to Dr. Fauci after Trump cut funding and terminated his relationship with it last summer.

When Biden assumes presidency, he will enact policies in the interests of the environment. Biden supports a Green New Deal and wants to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. He has appointed Michael S. Regan, former secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality of North Carolina to be the head of the EPA. Biden picked John Kerry, who served as the 68th U.S. Secretary of State to be the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Gina McCarthy, former EPA chief, has been chosen to be the National Climate Advisor. Biden wants to invest in renewable energy, and create union jobs involving clean electricity, public transit, infrastructure, housing, and agriculture. Biden has set a goal of making America carbon-neutral by 2050, as a way to deal with climate change.

Part of Biden’s 2021 vision is to strengthen the workforce with his economic recovery plan. His comprehensive strategies to reopen the economy involve extending COVID-19 crisis unemployment insurance for those out of jobs, and providing relief to workers, small businesses, and communities. He has been supportive of labor unions and wants to make a public option for health insurance. Biden wants to lower the costs and give Americans access to affordable healthcare, reissue federal funding for Planned Parenthood, find solutions to the college debt crisis, and reform capital gains. He has underscored the idea of building up the middle class, which he believes to be “the backbone of the country.”

Biden seeks to rebuild our international presence by strengthening alliances and democratic institutions worldwide. Biden wants his leadership to reflect American interests and values, so he will strive to end wars, reshape global partnerships, and elevate diplomacy. He wants to address foreign policy matters such as terminating travel bans, reentering the Iran nuclear deal, ending the Global Gag Rule, protecting the rights of undocumented immigrants in America, and raising the rate of refugee admissions. Biden has experience as a founding member of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, where politicians across Europe pledged transparency while running for office. Considering that Biden will become U.S. president on Jan. 20, we hope he will keep his promises and uphold these morals.