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How Joe Biden Works

By: Josh Clark & Dave Roos  | 

Joe Biden as President

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris introduce the nominees for their science team on Jan. 16, 2021, at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden pledged to nominate the most diverse cabinet in U.S. history, and if his candidates are confirmed we will see the first Native American cabinet secretary (Congresswoman Deb Haaland as interior secretary); the first female treasury secretary (Janet Yellen); the first Latino homeland security chief (Alejandro N. Mayorkas); the first openly gay cabinet member (Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary) and the first African American Pentagon chief (Gen. Lloyd Austin). Still he is under pressure "from all sides" as The New York Times put it, to do even more in terms of representation.

As far as policies, here are some of the things Biden has said he will do in his first 100 days [sources: Moore, Franck]

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  • Work on a new COVID-19 aid package
  • Release a vaccine distribution plan
  • Reverse Trump's corporate tax cut
  • Reenter the Paris Climate accord of 2015 that Trump pulled the U.S. out of
  • Extend the Voting Rights Act
  • Produce a path to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally
  • Make the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program permanent
  • Stop family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Enact criminal justice reform
  • Make investments to boost the U.S. economy
  • Start on a $2 trillion plan to boost reliance on clean energy and sustainable practices
  • Offer a public option for health care insurance
  • Cancel student loan debt for all Americans for at least $10,000

As part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, Biden wants to give direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, on top of the $600 that was recently approved. He also wants to extend the moratorium on evictions as well as the federal unemployment benefit. He'd also like billions to go to state and local government aid, COVID testing and vaccine programs. Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is also part of the package.

Whether he can deliver on these promises — or at least some of them — remains to be seen. Biden, who ran as a moderate, will be caught between his more liberal party members who want him to take more progressive positions in areas like the environment and immigration, and conservative members of the Republican Party who may seek to block him as much as possible.

Originally Published: Sep 23, 2008

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