President-elect Joe Biden has made big promises, but can he keep them?
As the elections were tightening and only a week away, Joe Biden got fat.
He flew to Warm Springs, the city in Georgia whose thermal waters once brought comfort to Franklin Delano Roosevelt of polio, and promised an overhaul of America’s economic and political fabric unprecedented since the New Deal. by FDR.
Hinting at some of the nation’s highest reforms helped Biden topple President Donald Trump, but left him with it imposing promises to keep. And it will try to deliver on its promises amid a burning national divide and a pandemic that has killed nearly 400,000 Americans and disrupted the economy.
Such a change would be hard to imagine under any circumstances, let alone now.
He leaves with Democrats clinging to very slim control of the House and Senate and having won an election in which 74 million people voted for his opponent. And even if his administration achieves most of its primary goals in legislation or executive action, those actions are likely to be overturned by a Supreme Court now controlled by a conservative 6-3 majority.
Even so, the effort is soon underway. Washington is bracing for dozens of substantial executive actions starting Wednesday and spanning the first 10 days of Biden’s administration, as well as legislation that will begin to make its way through Congress on emergency relief. pandemic, immigration and much more.
Did Biden promise more than he can offer? Not in his opinion. He suggests that he can accomplish even more than he promised. He says he and his team “will do our best to exceed all the expectations you have for the country and the expectations we have for him”.
Some Democrats say Biden is correct in setting high expectations while realizing he will have to compromise, rather than starting with smaller goals and having to lower them further.
“You cannot tell a nation that is hungry, that is uncertain, that is afraid in some places, whose economy is at a standstill … that you have had to reduce the demand of its government because you have a margin of. close governance, “said former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Biden’s former Democratic presidential rival.
New presidents typically enjoy a honeymoon period that helps them in Congress, and Biden’s chances of securing one have been improved by Democratic victories this month in two special Senate elections in Georgia. He may also have been aided by a public backlash against the murderous and armed insurgency on the United States Capitol by Trump supporters.
Biden’s advisers admitted they would have some fierce fighting ahead. One approach they have in mind is one familiar in Washington – consolidating a few big ideas into what’s called omnibus legislation, so lawmakers who want grassroots measures passed have to swallow more controversial measures as well.
Another approach is to pursue objectives through decrees. This completely bypasses Congress, but leaves the measures more easily challenged in court. Trump has used executive orders extensively for some of his most controversial actions, involving border enforcement, the environment and more, but federal courts have often gotten in the way.
Biden’s top priority is Congress approval of a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to deliver 100 million vaccines by his 100th day in office while also providing direct payments of 1,400 $ to Americans to stimulate the virus-hammered economy. This is not a slam dunk, although everyone likes to receive government money.
Such a payment is likely to be associated with measures many members of Congress oppose, perhaps his proposed tenure for a national minimum wage of $ 15, for example. And Biden’s rescue plan will have to wipe out a Senate busy approving his key Cabinet choices and leading Trump’s potential impeachment trial.
Nevertheless, the flood is coming.
On day one alone, Biden vowed to extend the break on federal student loan payments, get the United States to join the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement, and demand Americans to commit to wearing a mask for 100 days. He plans to use executive measures to overturn the Trump administration’s ban on immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries and remove corporate tax cuts where possible, while doubling the levies that American companies pay on foreign profits.
That same day, Biden pledged to create homeless task forces and reunite immigrant parents with separated children at the US-Mexico border. He plans to send bills to Congress to impose stricter background checks on gun buyers, remove liability protections for gun manufacturers and pave the way for citizenship. for 11 million immigrants who arrived illegally in the United States as children.
The new president also wants to immediately relax limits on unionization of federal workers, reverse Trump’s setback of roughly 100 public health and environmental rules the Obama administration has instituted, and create rules to limit the influence of companies on its administration and guarantee the independence of the Ministry of Justice.
He also pledged to operate 100 vaccination centers supported by federal emergency management staff during his first month in the White House.
Biden says he will use the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine supplies and ensure the pandemic is sufficiently controlled after his first 100 days in office that most public schools nationwide reopen. He also pledged to have created a police oversight commission to tackle institutional racism by then.
Among other major initiatives to be undertaken quickly: joining the US-Iran nuclear deal, a $ 2 trillion climate package to bring the US to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a spending plan of $ 700 billion to boost manufacturing and research and development and build on the Obama administration’s health care law to include a “public option.”
Perhaps obscured in this parade of promises, however, is the fact that some of the more than 80 million voters who backed Biden may have done so to oppose Trump, not because they are delighted with an ambitious democratic program. The president-elect’s victory may not have been a mandate to pull a country that has emerged from the last mostly centrist elections so far to the left.
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak predicted early Republican support for Biden’s coronavirus relief and economic stimulus plans, but said it could evaporate quickly if they “issue a bunch of left-wing executive orders on day one “.
“You can’t be bipartisan with one hand and left with the other,” Mackowiak said, “and hope Republicans don’t notice.”
Biden had a front row seat as vice president in 2009, when Barack Obama took office, with crowds crowding the National Mall, and vowed to transcend partisan politics. Her administration used larger majorities in Congress to oversee sluggish economic growth after the 2008 financial crisis, and she passed the health care bill that Biden is now seeking to expand.
But Obama has failed to push through major climate change, ethics, or immigration legislation. He also failed to close the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, which remains open to this day.
Failure to keep his promises then didn’t make Biden more chastised today. He recognizes that even a small portion of what he wants will require running huge deficits, but he argues that the United States has an “economic imperative” and a “moral obligation” to do so.
Kelly Dietrich, founder of the National Democratic Training Committee and former party fundraiser, said the divisions fomented by Trump could give Biden a unique opportunity to move forward immediately and ignore conservative criticism that “goes complaining and crying and making things up “and arguing that the socialists” are coming to kick your puppy “.
Biden and his team would do well to rule out anyone who doesn’t think they can aim high, he said.
“They shouldn’t be distracted by people who think it’s disappointing or that it can’t happen,” Dietrich said. “Overwhelm people with action. No administration, once it’s over, says, “We have accomplished too much in the first hundred days.” “