By Marissa Yelenik
Image Source: Los Angeles Times
As Joe Biden rears up for his inauguration on January 20, 2021, he is preparing not only his 100-day plan, but also for his cabinet members. Although many members still need to be approved by the Senate, his picks are already representative of his clear wish to have a more inclusive and diverse team than America’s executive branch has ever seen before:
Vice President – Kamala Harris
Chief of Staff – Ron Klain
Secretary of State – Antony J. Blinken
Treasury Secretary – Janet L. Yellen
Secretary of Defense – General Lloyd J. Austin III
Attorney General – Unfilled
Secretary of the Interior – Deb Haaland
Secretary of Agriculture – Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Commerce – Unfilled
Secretary of Labor – Unfilled
Secretary of Health and Human Services – Xavier Becerra
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Marcia L. Fudge
Secretary of Transportation – Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Energy – Jennifer Granholm
Secretary of Education – Unfilled
Secretary of Veterans Affairs – Denis McDonough
Secretary of Homeland Security – Alejandro N. Mayorkas
U.S. Trade Representative – Katherine Tai
Director of National Intelligence – Avril D. Haines
U.N. Ambassador – Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Environmental Protection Agency – Michael Regan
Some of Biden’s current picks are known for their time of service under the Obama administration, such as Tom Vilsack, who was the head of the Department of Agriculture for both of Obama’s terms, or Antony Blinken, who worked in the State Department and as deputy national security advisor under Obama.
Biden has also hired an all-female senior communications team, which has never occurred before. Biden’s choices are in stark contrast to the previous administration’s cabinet, which was almost exclusively composed of white people, and was also mainly male.
What his plans are, and what he has promised in his first 100 days
The first 100 days of a presidential administration are always highly anticipated. They are judged by all to see what type of president the incumbent will be and if they will keep their promises. Joe Biden is no exception to this and is facing even more pressure in the wake of COVID-19, as well as the steadily growing tensions in minority communities regarding police reform and immigration.
His 100-day plan is large, becoming more and more ambitious as the days go on. It will be difficult for Biden to complete most of the goals he has set for himself, and as the Trump administration continues to refuse admittance to Biden and his team to inform and integrate them, the list seems all the more difficult to complete.
Fix the current testing process in order to give Americans regular, reliable, and free testing by doubling the number of drive-through testing sites, investing in the next generation of testing, setting up a Pandemic Testing Board, and establishing a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps.
Fix issues with PPE by using the Defense Production Act to increase the production of PPE, and building towards a future American-based manufacturing of PPE to increase independence.
Provide more clear, scientifically based, national guidance on how to continue through the pandemic by working with the CDC to instruct communities when to open or close certain public spaces, as well as how educational institutions should move on, how large gatherings can be, and stay-at-home orders.
Provide extra resources to schools, businesses, and families by attempting to pass an emergency package to get resources to schools, and provide packages to small businesses which would include plexiglass and PPE.
Plan for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by investing $25 billion in the manufacturing and distribution of a vaccine and putting scientists in charge of all decisions on safety and efficacy.
Protect older and high-risk Americans by establishing a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force, which will transition into a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force after this pandemic is over, and create the Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard for Americans to check on the status of their community regarding the transmission of the disease.
Rebuild and expand American defenses by restoring the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, rejoin the World Health Organization, bring back the U.S. Agency for International Development’s PREDICT program, which tracks pathogens, and expanding the CDC’s deployed disease detectives.
Execute a nationwide mask mandate around people outside of their homes in order to save thousands of lives by working with governors and mayors to make it mandatory in each state.
Produce legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of migrants living in the U.S. without documentation, as well as those part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He also stated his support for DACA recipients, going on to say he “will immediately work to make it permanent by sending a bill to Congress on day one of my Administration,” as reported by The Hill.
End the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as issuing an executive order to create a task force to reunite the currently separated children and parents.
End the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries put in place by the Trump administration, as well as signing off on the No Ban Act, which has passed through the House.
Stop the construction of the U.S.-Mexican border wall, reform the asylum system, and reform the treatment of those at the border. Biden has stated he will defund the border wall, but will not take down what has been constructed. He intends to put an end to the Migrant Protection Protocols, which makes those seeking asylum to wait for their hearings in Mexico, and end the previous administration’s policy of “metering” asylum cases, which forces them to wait for weeks before crossing the border legally.
Reverse the corporate tax cut put in by the Trump administration, which will raise corporate taxes from 21% to 28%. He will also raise taxes on high-income individuals, which is categorized by those making over $400,000.
Pass the SAFE Justice Act, which is intended to work towards reforming modern criminal justice by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes, as well as allowing prisoners to earn time off for taking part in rehabilitative programs. The bill proposes many more reforms for the criminal justice system, attempting to rehabilitate prisoners instead of just incarcerating them.
Re-enter the Paris Climate Accord with the UN immediately, revoking Trump’s decision to leave.
Rebuild relations with international countries, going back on Trump’s strong “America first” policy. He wishes to reach out to others, as well as plan an international summit with the intention to fight against authoritarianism and corruption around the globe while fighting for human rights.
Extend the Voting Rights Act, which was first passed in August of 1965. This bill outlawed the use of things such as poll tax, literacy tests, and more barriers to entry for voting, which were put in place to prevent African Americans from voting.