US President-elect Joe Biden will deliver an appeal to national unity when he is sworn in on Thursday and plans immediate moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies, his incoming chief of staff said on Monday.
Biden intends a series of executive actions in his first hours after his inauguration, an opening salvo in what is shaping up as a 10-day blitz of steps to reorient the country without waiting for Congress, aide Ron Klain said.
Klain said in a television interview that Biden, in his inaugural address to the nation, will deliver “a message of moving this country forward. A message of unity. A message of getting things done.”
Biden will end Trump’s restriction on immigration to the US. from some Muslim-majority countries, move to rejoin the Paris climate accord and mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during interstate travel. Those are among roughly a dozen actions Biden will take on his first day in the White House, incoming chief of staff Ron Klain said Saturday in a memo to senior staff.
Other actions include extending the pause on student loan payments and actions meant to prevent evictions and foreclosures for those struggling during the pandemic.
“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Klain said in the memo. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward.”
Incoming White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said Biden would use his address to the American people to appeal to those frustrated by the rancor of Washington and to explain how his administration will tackle the nation’s challenges.
“I think you can expect that this will be a moment where President-elect Biden will really work to try to turn the page on the divisiveness and the hatred over the last four years and really lay out a positive, optimistic vision for the country, and lay out a way – lay out a path forward that really calls on all of us to work together,” she said in a TV interview.
Despite the flurry of expected executive action, “full achievement” of Biden’s goals will require Congress to act, Klain said memo, and that includes the $1.9-trillion virus relief bill that Biden outlined last Thursday. Klain said that Biden would also propose a comprehensive immigration bill to lawmakers on his first day in office.
Some lawmakers have already balked at the aid bill’s price tag, and immigration overhaul efforts over the past decade and a half have all stalled in Congress. Still, Klain expressed optimism.
“I think there are people in both parties we can work with to move this agenda forward,” Klain said Sunday, noting voters elected a 50-50 Senate, where Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as the tie-breaking vote. “We’re going to have to find ways to get Democrats and
Republicans to work together to get things done.”
Providing a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the US illegally will be part of Biden’s agenda, according to people briefed on his plans. CURRENTPH