Four crises, three branches, two parties, one guy
Each president walks into the Oval Office with a full plate of problems to solve. But some have had more urgent crises to deal with than others.
Abraham Lincoln inherited a country on the brink of civil war, and his very election led the South to secede. Franklin D. Roosevelt faced the Great Depression, still the greatest economic crisis in the country’s history. Barack Obama’s first order of business was to deal with the second biggest economic crisis in the country’s history.
President-elect Joe Biden will join this class of presidents taking office in the midst of a crisis on January 20. As he himself often tells reporters, he faces four simultaneous crises: a once-in-a-generation pandemic, the resulting economic fallout, a nationwide reckoning on racial justice, and the maintenance of the order, and the global threat posed by climate change (although few outside his own party recognize the fourth as a high priority “crisis”).
Biden and his allies are also highlighting President Donald Trump and the policies they will seek to reverse in the early days of the new administration.
There are several granular issues lurking in these seizures. Here’s a look at some of those issues Biden will face in his first 100 days in office.
Working with Republicans
It came just hours after the riot, sparked by rhetoric from the president and other Republicans over a stolen election and the possibility of overturning the results.
Obtain Cabinet Confirmation
Biden needs executive power with clear leadership before he can begin to tackle the myriad of issues he faces. It starts with the confirmation of its 15 cabinet secretaries and a handful of cabinet-level positions.
The President-elect has so far been sticking to low-key and even boring choices for key Cabinet positions, drawing on people with years of experience and deep expertise in their respective policy areas. Several also have long-standing relationships and a built-in level of trust with Biden, such as Tony Blinken, Biden’s choice to lead the State Department.
But not all of Biden’s choices fit that mold. For example, he brought in California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services despite Becerra’s inexperience in healthcare administration.
Additional relief in the event of a pandemic
Congress just passed a $ 900 billion stimulus package and Democrats were already talking about more aid even before Trump signed the bill.
Several provisions will require immediate attention. Most notably, a moratorium on evictions for properties receiving federal dollars of any kind will expire on January 31 if not extended. The same is true of a continued forbearance on federal student loan payments; which will also expire at the end of the month. Biden will have to decide how to proceed using executive action, if necessary. He has previously suggested he would write off $ 10,000 in student loan debt for each borrower, although the provision faces a major setback nationwide, political or otherwise.
Rebuilding relations with allies
Trump’s “America First” vision for US foreign policy resonated with millions of people and crept even deeper into Republican orthodoxy. In the eyes of European leaders, what assurance can Biden give that in four years things will not return to the new standards set by Trump? What do relations with the United States look like if, every four years, their attitude towards the rest of the world changes?
Rebuilding those relationships will also be key to Biden’s climate change goals, as Trump created mistrust when he left the Paris climate agreement. Biden can easily join the climate deal, but again, EU leaders will wonder what will happen if in four years a candidate who doesn’t believe in climate science wins the White House?
These are questions Biden and his foreign policy team will face on January 20 and beyond.
Undoing Trump’s immigration legacy – sort of
“Migrants and asylum seekers should absolutely not believe those in the region who peddle the idea that the border will suddenly be fully open to handle everyone on day one. It won’t, ”Rice said, according to a translation of the EFE interview.
Biden faces a litany of challenges during his early days in office. Everyone will be keeping a close eye on the goals they pursue and those that go down the drain.