President-elect Joe Biden is planning to spend his first days in office reversing many of President Trump’s decisions, including a return to the World Health Organization.
Exiting the WHO during a pandemic was a difficult and complicated choice that Democrats simply fail to understand.
As I have written previously (click here), there is much evidence suggesting the WHO helped China downplay the severity of COVID-19. As Trump has argued, the US should not be the primary funding source for an agency that prioritizes its loyalty to China over the health and safety of the global population. To date, more than 240,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Alongside his decision to rejoin WHO, Biden is planning an aggressive approach to the pandemic not unlike Roosevelt’s wartime production panel. He is expected to utilize the Defense Production Act to force American businesses to make products deemed necessary for national defense and to impose a mask mandate on all federal property.
“The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing, and so is the need for bold action to fight this pandemic,” says Biden. “We are still facing a dark winter.”
Biden is also planning to:
- Reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA)
- Repeal the travel ban Trump put in place to protect America from terrorists
- Reverse the Mexico City Policy (which blocks US funding to NGOs that provide abortion counseling or referrals) and restore funding to Planned Parenthood
- Repeal Trump’s tax cuts
- Allow government workers to unionize
- Increase acceptance of refugees
- Pursue legislation that provides opportunities for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status
- Cut funding for The Border Wall
In terms of climate change, we can expect the Biden Administration to overturn a Trump policy that promoted fossil fuel development to flourish and replace it with a series of restrictions designed to limit greenhouse gas production. These restrictions may interfere with the completion of crucial oil pipelines and end a 2017 policy that encouraged energy exploration and production offshore.
Biden says he will establish a new climate justice office within the DOJ, impose new restrictions on federal office buildings and vehicles, and create a program to build charging stations for electric vehicles throughout the country.
The reversal of executive orders is a big deal because it can be done immediately and it gives direction to federal agencies on how to exercise their powers and priorities. Biden’s first moves in office will set the tone for his entire presidency, and choosing to immediately reverse many of Trump’s key achievements threatens to anger nearly half of the nation.
“How far is he going to go?” asks former GOP Senator Rick Santorum. “If you want to show that you want to work on a bipartisan basis, then you don’t go out right away and sign all the executive orders on immigration and bypass the Congress.”