Biden announces plan to address pandemic, rebuild economy in first 100 days



Adam Miller, Community Editor

Every major news publication has declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. While the incumbent Trump administration challenges the results and continues to take legal action, President-Elect Biden and his team have been working on Biden’s immediate plans for the country when he takes office in January.

Biden has previously been described as a moderate, center-left Democrat by both himself and others . During his time as a senator in the 1970s through the 2000s, Biden has supported bills and views that would be seen as conservative today, including opposing the decision of Roe v. Wade and participating in the “tough on crime” stance that many politicians adopted in the 1980s and ’90s. Biden prominently led a Senate Judiciary Committee responsible for many of the laws passed as part of the war on drugs. 

However, Biden has adopted more progressive views in the last 20 years. He has said in recent years he supports the decision of Roe v. Wade, despite some mixed statements in the past. Although Biden was a prominent leader of the war on drugs as a senator, he has supported the decriminalization of marijuana, including legalizing the use of medical marijuana nationwide and allowing states to individually decide on its recreational use, during his presidential campaign. In the past he has expressed that he believes marijuana is a gateway drug but has said efforts “convicting people for smoking marijuana is a waste of our resources.” Biden has also pushed for stricter gun control, including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons. 

Notable in his Senate career, Joe Biden drafted and received bipartisan support for the Violence Against Women Act. This legislation strengthened the rights of victims of sexual harassment, abuse, rape and domestic violence and started a national conversation around the severity of domestic and sex crimes, especially against women. In a 2014 opinion piece for Time magazine, Biden wrote that “the Violence Against Women Act is my proudest legislative accomplishment.”

Joe Biden’s immediate plans after taking office focus on mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and rebuilding the currently slumped economy. His administration plans to increase testing capacity and establish a “U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps” to give work to tens of thousands of Americans and lead a coordinated, national effort to trace and treat the SARS-CoV-2 virus. His plan also includes providing national guidance for states, schools and communities on how to proceed and possibly funding communities that cannot afford on their own to implement plans, policies and mandates related to this mitigation plan. He has expressed especially making decisions based on recommendation from health and science advisors. A nationwide face mask mandate in cooperation with local governments is part of this plan.

“It is important that [the president and the vice president] set the pattern by wearing masks, but beyond that, where the federal government has authority, I’m going to issue a standing order that in federal buildings you have to be masked,” Biden said in his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after the election. “In transportation, interstate transportation, you must be masked. On airplanes and buses, etc. On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask, not forever. One hundred days.”

In the same interview, Biden also expressed that he had asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force, to continue on in his role.

“I asked [Dr. Fauci] to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the Covid team,” Biden said.

Biden’s statements are significant in his emphasis on trusting doctors and scientists, in contrast to President Trump’s dismissal or minimization of Dr. Fauci and other public health officials.

Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan focuses on rebuilding the economy by “mobiliz[ing] the American people,” reversing corporate tax cuts by the Trump administration and vaguely giving “further immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities,” according to Biden’s website. His plan specifically focuses on strengthening labor unions and boosting manufacturing jobs and modern infrastructure. Specific stipulations include plans to incentivize and enforce manufacturers in America to keep jobs in the U.S. and decrease dependency on other countries as demonstrated during the pandemic. Another stipulation is to provide support and funds to childcare, education and care for older Americans and Americans with disabilities at the state, tribal and local government level. In general, Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan seeks to give relief to working class and middle class families especially and support companies and corporations in regard to employing American workers. 

“I truly believe that such prevention should be put into place in order to combat the coronavirus as effectively as possible,” Galina Clark (’24) said. “We should have done that months ago, before it got out of hand. We must implement strong procedures now before this pandemic gets any worse. Is staying inside and wearing masks all over again going to be fun? No, it isn’t. Will companies be affected by this? Yes, they will. But the well being and safety of citizens should be the government’s first priority.”