President-elect Joe Biden has begun rolling out his transition plan, including a website listing four priorities for the start of his administration: COVID-19; economic recovery; racial equity; and climate change.
When Biden takes office in January, his presidency is likely to change things for Texans, says Carlos Huerta, a political science professor at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Huerta tells Texas Standard that when it comes to COVID-19, which is spreading again in Texas, he expects Biden will lean heavily on medical experts for a strategy.
“I think we’re gonna see the Centers for Disease Control get a more high-profile role,” he said.
States could also receive more resources and benefit from more coordination with the federal government.
Huerta expects the Biden administration to seek more economic stimulus funding, too. For that, he’ll need the cooperation of Congress, with the possibility that one chamber – the Senate – will remain controlled by Republicans.
“If we don’t see any kind of legislative action taken, I would expect to see a Biden administration use executive action in as many places as it can to provide relief,” Huerta said.
To address racial inequity in policing, Huerta expects the Justice Department to return to the Obama-era practice of using consent decrees to deal with police departments that have had a history of excessive use of force against Black Americans.
The Trump administration placed severe limits on immigration, from attempts to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, to keeping would-be immigrants out of the country. Huerta expects the Biden administration to roll back Trump’s immigration-related executive orders.
“Many members of Congress – Republican and Democrat – have talked about trying to pass a bipartisan immigration bill,” Huerta said. “Well, here’s an opportunity.”
And when it comes to climate change, Biden will likely encourage energy companies to ramp up their production of renewables, Huerta said – including those companies based in Texas.