The Biden presidency Chapter I

Written by  //  February 20, 2021  //  Government & Governance, U.S.  //  No comments

The Biden-Harris Administration

Biden’s top doctor nominee made more than $2 million doing pandemic consulting, speeches
Tapped to be surgeon general, Vivek Murthy’s financial entanglements draw scrutiny before his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday
(WaPo) Murthy, whose Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Thursday, is expected to narrowly win confirmation to return to the role of surgeon general, six years after his first grueling confirmation battle as President Barack Obama’s nominee — and four years after President Donald Trump abruptly fired him, shortly after taking office. Murthy’s financial disclosures could complicate his candidacy given strong conservative opposition to him on other grounds — such as his longtime advocacy of treating gun violence as a public health problem. But Republicans have thus far stayed away from his finances and it’s unclear whether Democrats will raise the issue, despite repeatedly chastising Trump’s health nominees for their corporate ties

14 February
Biden Takes Center Stage With Ambitious Agenda as Trump’s Trial Ends
President Biden’s has said he hopes for bipartisan support, but his prospects are complicated by the fact that much of his agenda is aimed at dismantling the policies of his predecessor.
The president plans to quickly press for his $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, and then move on to infrastructure, immigration, climate change and other major priorities.
Mr. Biden has so far succeeded in pushing his agenda forward even amid the swirl of the impeachment, trial and acquittal of former President Donald J. Trump. House committees are already debating parts of the coronavirus relief legislation he calls the American Rescue Plan. Several of the president’s cabinet members have been confirmed despite the Trump drama. And Mr. Biden’s team is pressing lawmakers for quick action when senators return from a week-long recess.

Biden’s economic point man draws praise — and pushback
Allies laud Brian Deese’s leadership on the stimulus negotiations, but he’s rubbed some the wrong way.
The 42-year-old head of the National Economic Council, Deese has emerged as a major player in the early days of the administration. … Some GOP lawmakers have said they’d like to see other Biden administration officials get involved in the coronavirus relief talks, as well. Several noted that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin worked productively with Democrats to craft Congress’ previous coronavirus relief packages and said they’d be open to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen playing a similar role.

27 January
Biden, Emphasizing Job Creation, Signs Sweeping Climate Actions
The array of directives — touching on international relations, drilling policy, employment and national security, among other things — elevate climate change across every level of the federal government.
Biden Team Rushes to Take Over Government, and Oust Trump Loyalists
(NYT) When President Biden swore in a batch of recruits for his new administration in a teleconferenced ceremony late last week, it looked like the country’s biggest Zoom call. In fact, Mr. Biden was installing roughly 1,000 high-level officials in about a quarter of all of the available political appointee jobs in the federal government.

26 January
Antony J. Blinken is confirmed as secretary of state.
Blinken Takes Over at State Dept. With a Review of Trump’s Policies
The Senate confirmed Antony J. Blinken as secretary of state. He is looking to reverse the Trump administration’s confrontational approach to diplomacy.
Biden’s Cabinet and Senior Advisers
President Biden’s nominees are slowly making their way through Senate confirmation.
The Biden plan to be boring – programming the news coverage of their opening weeks in office through thematic days based around executive orders — each day involving “a slate of unilateral actions, a background briefing with reporters and a press appearance by a top aide, or, perhaps, the head honcho himself.”

24 January
Biden is firing some top Trump holdovers, but in some cases, his hands may be tied
The Biden team, showing a willingness to cut tenures short, moved quickly last week to dump several high-profile, Senate-confirmed Trump appointees whose terms extended beyond Inauguration Day — in some cases by several years. [Biden Has Already Fired Three of Trump’s Worst Appointees]
But other, lower-profile Trump loyalists, some of whom helped carry out his administration’s most controversial policies, are scattered throughout Biden’s government in permanent, senior positions. And identifying them, let alone dislodging them, could be difficult for the new leadership.

White House installs new leadership at federally-funded international broadcasters

Three days into the Biden administration and lots of commenters are noting the return of calm in the media, and the return of a sense of stability in the government. People are sleeping so much better that the word “slept” trended on Twitter the day after the inauguration.
Biden, a long-time institutionalist, seems to be trying scrupulously to restore the precise functions of different branches of government, as well as the nonpartisan civil bureaucracy that, so far, has protected our democracy from falling to a dictator.

22 January
Who is Lloyd Austin, America’s first Black defense secretary?
Austin’s confirmation followed back-to-back votes in the House and Senate Thursday that granted him a waiver to hold the position, as federal law requires individuals to wait seven years after retiring from active-duty service before holding the role of defense secretary

21 January
These are the executive orders Biden has signed so far
The new president signed 17 executive orders and other directives on the first day of his presidency in what administration officials have said is an initial wave of actions Biden will take in his first 10 days in office. Among them:
Executive order reversing U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Executive order rejoining the Paris Climate Accords
Executive order revoking permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and stopping oil and pausing gas leasing at Arctic refuge
Proclamation cutting off funding for the border wall
Memorandum strengthening the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
The Defining Battle of Biden’s Presidency Is Already Raging in the Senate
(New York) When the Democratic party lost Congress back in 2010, many of its core constituencies were left holding IOUs. Labor left the Obama era without card check, climate hawks got neither “cap” nor “trade,” immigrant-rights groups never collected on their promised path to citizenship, and advocates for gun control and myriad other progressive causes were similarly stiffed.
In the years since, the party’s debts to its coalition have only mounted. Among other things, Joe Biden enters office having promised to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, enact a wide array of collective-bargaining reforms, pass a new voting rights act, grant statehood to Washington, D.C., and put the U.S. on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
But he will do none of this unless all 50 Senate Democrats agree to abolish the legislative filibuster.
Democrats shoot down McConnell’s filibuster gambit
Democrats are shooting down an effort by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to include protections for the legislative filibuster as part of a Senate power-sharing deal.
Biden ousts controversial head of US Agency for Global Media
Pack drew fire from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike for ignoring a subpoena to testify before a House panel over several controversies, including his widespread firings of the heads of multiple broadcast agencies and halting funds for the U.S. Open Technology Fund

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