Beginning on day one, President-elect Joe Biden will begin taking the necessary steps to undo all the damage of the past four years by Donald Trump.
Biden and his team have for months been preparing his agenda, including restoring protection for “dreamers,” rejoining the Paris climate accords and rejoining the World Health Organization.
The policy changes, many to be done by executive order and — hopefully — more to be set in law by Congress, can’t come soon enough.
Shifts in policy from one president to another, particularly when they are from different parties, have always been expected. But the changes that will come in the Biden administration will be of a historic nature.
That’s not because Biden, or the Democrat-controlled Congress are radical left-wingers. If anything, the far left wing of the party feels Biden and the majority of Democrats in Congress are not likely to take the kind of dramatic steps they support. Instead, the dramatic shift in policy will be due to the fact that Trump, like no president before, has worked so hard to undermine trust in democratic institutions, to isolate America and to turn back hard-fought progress on racial equality, women’s rights and progress on vital issues such as climate change.
Biden has promised to rejoin the Paris climate accord, reassuring the rest of the world that the United States is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to slow climate change before the it goes past the tipping point.
Trump’s administration worked feverishly to roll back environmental regulation and to back the few people who still insist climate change either doesn’t exist or isn’t caused by human activity.
Biden is also ready to help ensure that children brought here from other countries illegally when they were children — known as “dreamers” — are kept safe from deportation and allowed to get work permits so long as they have not been in serious legal trouble. Trump ordered an end to DACA, although his order was tied up in court.
Biden has pledged to not only restore protections for all those dreamers who have become productive members of society, but to deliver to Congress a comprehensive immigration reform bill that allows undocumented immigrants who do not commit serious crimes to have a way to citizenship.
President Biden has a long list of other items he hopes to, or should, tackle.
That includes improving the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — to help end the travesty of Americans who are unable to afford basic health insurance, renegotiating free trade agreements, restoring faith among allies around the world, rejoining global organizations such as WHO and, of course, dealing with the immediate threat of COVID-19.
It’s a daunting agenda to hoist on anyone. But Biden and his team appear ready to tackle it. We hope Congress can find the kind of bipartisan cooperation of the past to help ensure the United States is restored to greatness after the devastation unleashed by Donald Trump.