Joe Biden’s vision for the future
Joe Biden took an elected victory oher Donald Trump following the official ballot counting in January 6 and will soon enter the White House as the 46th president, moving forward with hopeful promises of returning to what he describes as the ”normal era of politics” before Trump entered the presidency. His many policy plans combined with his decades of history as a politician within the Senate mean Biden may find ways to work across the aisle and get a majority of his plans passed, which could shape much of this generation’s future.
The 46th president already has a slew of ambitious plans and executive orders designed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as reverse a number of Trump‘s policies. Biden plans to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord on his first day in office and void one of Trump’s first executive orders to ban incoming travel from several majority-Muslim countries. On the same day, Biden plans to extend the pause on federal student loan payments and evictions to prevent people falling behind on rent payments, as well as institute a national mask mandate inside federal lands and while traveling across state lines. This action is different from imposing a national mask mandate everywhere across the country, as Biden will instead urge states to institute mandates on their own without the federal government forcing them to do so.
Within a week after inauguration Biden will focus incredibly hard on combating the Covid-19 pandemic and bringing the economy out of its downward spiral. He will sign orders to help businesses and schools open safely, expand upon Covid testing within every state, establish a nationwide standard for health and safety and bring economic relief to struggling families through many of his Covid-19 relief plans. He has already unveiled his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan that he hopes to pass through Congress, which includes $1,400 direct payments to families to bring the total up to the originally proposed $2,000, expansions upon unemployment relief, and other measures such as providing money to schools and businesses. While the measure may face some difficulty in the Senate due to the filibuster and general caution Republicans take towards such high totals in bills, it may be able to pass due to the strenuous circumstances of the time.
While much of this already sounds like a tremendous amount of policy, Biden has four years worth of promises he hopes to institute with the precarious majority that he has in both chambers of Congress. Primarily amongst his various long-term plans is healthcare reform, as he hopes to further expand upon the 44th president Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a policy Trump spent much of his presidency trying to dismantle. This expansion includes ensuring the protection of those with pre-existing conditions and adding a public health option to Obamacare, meaning that the government would be able to provide free healthcare through Obamacare whilst maintaining private insurance. This is not Medicare-for-all as proposed by progressives, but is still an ambitious step to take towards the future of healthcare in America.
Following June’s Black Lives Matter protests Biden hopes to reform the police through a national police oversight commission and other intricate reforms, such as pairing police officers with social workers for non-violent cases, eliminating cash bail and reforming qualified immunity. He does not support defunding the police as numerous Democratic politicians have demanded, showcasing the moderate path Biden is attempting to tread whilst still attempting to bring change to the country.
Education will also be a primary focus of the Biden administration, which makes sense considering his wife Dr. Jill Biden has been an educator for years. The policy of his most likely to pass is his plan to make community college free across the country. Biden will propose a plan to make public colleges tuition-free for any students who live in households which make less than $125,000 annually. While this may not initially sound like a lot, 80% of Americans fit under this threshold, so this would serve as the most sweeping change to American college education in decades. Other reforms to education also lay on the table, such as Biden hoping to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt through Congress and safely reopening a majority of schools within his first 100 days. It seems rushed, but schools may be able reopen for in-person learning quickly through Biden’s vaccine plan; he hopes to fully vaccinate 100 million Americans within the same time frame.
Climate change also stands as an important opponent for Biden to face, as he hopes to set in place a plan to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2035 and have net-zero emissions by 2050. He plans to invest $2 trillion into green jobs programs, create environmentally-friendly infrastructure and invest in technology such as electric cars and 5G. This is far different from the progressive Green New Deal but still sets an important groundwork for future presidents to combat climate change.
Other miscellaneous issues are just as important to Biden’s administration, such as rejoining diplomatic talk with Iran and Cuba, reinstitution of the federal weapons ban, universal background checks, decriminalizing marijuana use and reverse various other Trump-era policies such as the ban on transgender Americans from joining the military.
Joe Biden will be our president soon, entering at a time of great political polarization whilst the world is still reeling from the effects of Covid-19. While his ideas are not as progressive as ones from individuals such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, they are still far more ambitious than those proposed by his Democratic predecessors. Even with that, Biden has a long history as a bipartisan dealmaker, knowing how to work across the aisle due to his decades of friendship with both Republican and Democratic congressmen. Whether much of these policies will even pass is uncertain due to the precarious Democratic control of Congress and the ever present filibuster, but one aspect of his presidency is certain: Joe Biden is optimistic about our future and wants to fight as a president for all people, attempting to unify and change this country through a time of great political strife.