The next four years of Joe Biden's presidency — if he wins legal challenges from incumbent President Donald Trump — will be testing. From handling the Coronavirus pandemic efficiently to reviving the economy, countering the systemic racism in the country, climate change and re-establishing the U.S. as the world leader, he has a lot on his plate. But first, he will have to undo several policies that his predecessor Trump.
During his first 100 days, Biden is expected to sign several executive orders to reverse Trump's policies. The reason for leaning on executive orders will be due to a slow-moving Congress. While the Democrats will have House majority, the Senate majority may go to the Republicans.
It will depend on two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5. As of now, the race is tied at 48 seats each while Republicans are expected to get 50 assured seats. If Democrats can win the run-off elections, then Vice-President Kamala Harris will be the tie-breaker in the Senate.
Biden's first challenge will be to control the Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. The country has reported over 126,000 daily new cases in the last 24 hours alone. In his victory speech on Saturday night, Biden promised to form a Coronavirus task force that will be led by scientists and healthcare experts by Monday. They will work with the current White House COVID-19 task force to control the outbreak.
According to the Washington Post, the task force will be co-chaired by Vivek H Murthy, the former surgeon general and David Kessler, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner. Biden earlier said that he would reach out to Dr Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease specialist for advice while also appointing a supply commander, who will oversee the distribution of a Coronavirus vaccine when one is approved.
While the current government may not make wearing a mask mandatory, once Biden claims his presidency on January 20, he has promised to do so. However, there is a caveat. While he can certainly issue an executive order to make wearing masks mandatory on federal land, he cannot impose that on the states. Constitutionally, it is up to the states and also the reason Trump cited. Hence, even if Biden issues one, states that are opposed to the idea can challenge that in the court.
The other area, Biden is expected to address is reversing Trump's withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO). Biden criticized the move during the debates and rallies.
With the pandemic slowing down the economy and people losing their jobs, the second economic stimulus will be the next big task for Biden's presidency. Biden's campaign told Politico that he would press Congress to get a bill that will address paid sick leaves, free COVID-19 testing and treatment for uninsured and under-insured Americans. The bill will also include the costs of resources for healthcare workers.
"There will be a much more collaborative relationship with state and local governments. He will empower the agencies, not undermine and discredit them — but he will also hold them accountable for results," Chris Jennings, a former White House health policy adviser, told Politico.
Undoing Trump's Policies
Besides reversing WHO withdrawal, Biden is expected to re-enter the Paris Climate Change Agreement through an executive order. Climate change has been one of the issues that Biden ran on after Trump withdrew from the world group to limit and reduce carbon emission. He will also urge other leaders to have a larger contribution.
Then there is the planned executive order to repeal Trump's travel ban from Muslim-majority nations. Biden is also expected to reinstate the program allowing immigrants who entered the U.S. legally to remain in the country, a close Biden aide told the Washington Post.
In all, Biden is expected to reverse policies to the Barack Obama era. As the Vice-President, he oversaw many of these policies. The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) would be one of them. Biden may extend Obamacare while trying to reduce the cost to cover most uninsured Americans.
However, during his initial days, the Hunter Biden controversy is expected to be raised by Republicans and a formal investigation is likely to be launched. Biden said he would sign an executive order on his first day at the office, barring any member of his administration to influence any investigation launched by the Justice Department.
As for addressing the racial inequality and police reforms, it cannot be done through an executive order. It will need both parties to come around and address racial inequality and injustice. That will take time and probably his entire first term.