In less than two months, President-elect Joe Biden will move into the White House and will begin trying to turn his campaign promises into policy.
Biden said in a recent interview he doesn’t so much have a list of priorities to be done in order, but multiple actions that need to happen simultaneously during his first 100 days in office.
In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, the incoming president said three areas he would take immediate action on were immigration reform, the environment and economic aid to state and local government reeling from pandemic-induced losses.
The president-elect acknowledged that movement on some of these priorities would be dependent on cooperation with Congress.
While Democrats control the House, the scope and plausibility of Biden’s priorities could rest in Georgia’s runoff election on Jan. 5, when the state’s two U.S. Senate seats and control of the Senate will be decided. Most predictions have the GOP maintaining control of the Senate, but an unlikely two-seat win for Democrats in Georgia would spilt the Senate equally down party lines and give incoming Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a tie-breaking vote when needed.
“I made a commitment in the first 100 days, I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,” the president-elect told NBC last week.
This summer on the socially distanced campaign trail, Biden promised to send legislation to Congress that would make permanent the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — known as DACA — on his first day in the White House, The Hill reported.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that upheld the program could help Biden make DACA law.
In another campaign promise, the incoming president committed to ending on day 1 of his administration a Trump Administration policy that separated immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border.
Trump’s southern border and immigration policies were also the fulfillment of his own campaign promises to tighten America’s borders, including building a wall along the U.S. and Mexico boundary.
The president-elect told NBC News’ Holt he would be doing away with “very damaging executive orders that have significantly impacted upon making the climate worse and making us less healthy.”
National Public Radio reported that one of Biden’s “longest-standing campaign promises” was to bring the United States back into the 2015 Paris climate accords.
Biden has also proposed in his clean energy plan to put the country on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and for a $2 trillion investment into clean energy and climate sustainability during his term in office, according to NPR.
“Many leading climate activists have long believed that any significant investment in a transition from fossil fuels will need to be baked into an expansive economic stimulus bill,” CNN reported.
In his first 100 days in office, Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to “review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources” and said the agency should “suspend, revise or rescind” those regulations.
According to the NBC interview, Biden also plans to fortify the Environmental Protection Agency — an agency the president-elect said has been “eviscerated” by the previous administration.
According to data from the EPA, the agency’s budget during Trump’s first three years in office has been greater than Obama’s last three years, but the agency has been down an average of nearly 800 employees during Trump’s tenure.
During his NBC News interview, Biden said he wants to “make sure we get immediate assistance to state and local governments to keep them from — basically — from going under.”
“The most important thing,” the president-elect added, is to “focus on those folks who are always — when crisis hits — they’re the first one hit, and when recovery comes they’re the last one in.”
According to CNN, the incoming administration is focused on passing a “broad economic aid package” and when the legislative branch isn’t needed, a “series of executive actions” to further the administration’s “most urgent priorities” — such as economic recovery and addressing racial inequality.
On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers — including Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican, and Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democrat — proposed a $908 billion relief package, which was later shot down by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for being too robust.
Earlier this month, CNBC reported, Biden said he supports a trillions-dollar relief package similar to the HEREOS Act that the Democratic-held House passed this spring.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been at a standstill for months on future additional pandemic relief, with negotiations snagged on the price tag. Biden hopes to break through that stalemate.
“This is more than just a financial crisis,” Biden said to NBC’s Holt of the nearly yearlong coronavirus pandemic. “It’s a crisis that is causing real mental stress for millions of people. And it’s within our power to solve it and grow the economy at the time same time.”