December 1, 2020 10:34 am

Revised policies planned to control the coronavirus, recover the economy, address inequity, and combat climate change

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After months of rancorous campaigning and several days of counting ballots, former vice president Joe Biden emerged on Nov. 7 as the winner of the 2020 US presidential election.

Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris will take office in the middle of a pandemic, with the possibility of an economic stimulus package still up in the air. This stimulus, decided by Congress and approved by the president, could have considerable ramifications for higher education, research funding, drug companies, and chemical manufacturers.

Biden has spoken of reversing several of President Donald J. Trump’s executive orders, which could quickly change immigration and climate policy, as well as trade agreements. He plans for the US to rejoin the Paris climate change accord, and it appears he would restore the US’s presence in the World Health Organization. Rejoining the WHO is part of Biden and Harris’s seven-point plan to quell the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 240,000 and sickened more than 10 million people in the US. Biden will face higher hurdles where his agenda requires compromise with a possibly divided Congress.

Biden and Harris both mentioned science in Nov. 7 victory speeches. “You chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth,” Harris said before introducing Biden.

Biden followed with, “Americans have called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time.”

These are the areas Biden and Harris have laid out as priorities for when they take office on Jan. 20, 2021. Biden is expected to begin announcing nominations for cabinet positions in late November.

COVID-19

Biden announced Nov. 9 the formation of a task force to help guide his administration’s response to the pandemic. It is led by David Kessler, who led the US Food and Drug Administration for much of the 1990’s under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University physician who is an expert on health disparities; and Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general under Barack Obama. The stated goals of the task force are “to determine the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families, to address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities, and to reopen our schools and businesses safely and effectively,” a


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