COVID-19 relief at the top of President Biden’s list as he takes office
SALISBURY, Md. – Now that President Joe Biden has been sworn in, the work begins. The first 100 days in office are a notoriously important stretch for a new president. That’s especially so for one that has a list of priorities that include pulling a nation out of the grips of a pandemic. “One year ago the first COVID case was diagnosed in the United States. So we are one year into this pandemic and still need support,” said Associate Professor of Political Science at Salisbury University Dr. Sarah Surak.
On his first day, the newly inaugurated President planned to sign more than a dozen executive orders, with COVID-19 relief at the top of the list. “Right now the first thing on the agenda is to try to pass a $1.9 trillion relief package that is being called ‘America’s Rescue Plan’,” said Dr. Surak.
Dr. Surak says that also includes distributing 100 million vaccines, getting to work on stimulus checks, increasing minimum wage, and getting kids back in school by spring. “The Biden administration has taken a pretty progressive stance on this as a way to think about providing relief and helping to support America’s workers,” said Dr. Surak.
However, Dr. Surak adds President Biden’s other priorities largely center around rolling back Trump administration policies that undid Obama-era policies. The professors says some of those policies include halting border wall construction, ending the travel ban on majority Muslim countries, and rejoining World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Agreement. “Executive orders are a pretty common first action of presidents. Biden has made it a point that he’s going right to the White House to start rolling these executive orders,” said Dr. Surak.
Another thing Dr. Surak says will be on Biden’s heaping plate of to-do’s is working with the Senate as they juggle former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and confirmation hearings. “This will be even more complicated with an impeachment trial going on in the Senate at the same time. The Senate has been in discussion about how they can find ways to balance the schedule,” said Dr. Surak.
To accomplish the balancing act that President Biden is walking into, Dr. Surak says he’ll have to work with both parties. “It’ll be interesting to see how all of this is balanced, and whether or not Biden can work across the aisle, whether there will be more partisan building,” said Dr. Surak.