US--Biden 01/17 09:25
Biden to Appeal to National Unity
President-elect Joe Biden will deliver an appeal to national unity when he
is sworn in Wednesday 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 Sunday.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Joe Biden will deliver an appeal to
national unity when he is sworn in Wednesday 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 Sunday.
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 told CNN's "State of the Union" 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 U.S. 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
"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
"Full achievement" of Biden's goals will require Congress to act, Klain
wrote, including the $1.9 trillion virus relief bill he outlined last Thursday.
Klain said that Biden would also propose a comprehensive immigration bill to
lawmakers on his first day in office.
"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 U.S.
illegally will be part of Biden's agenda, according to people briefed on his
Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum and among those
briefed, said immigrants would be put on an eight-year path. There would be a
faster track for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,
which shields people from deportation who came to the U.S. as children, and for
those from strife-torn countries with temporary status.
On Thursday, the new president's second day in office, Biden would sign
orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak aimed at reopening schools and
businesses and expanding virus testing, Klain said. The following day, Friday,
will see action on providing economic relief to those suffering the economic
costs of the pandemic.
In the following week, Klain said, Biden would take additional actions
relating to criminal justice reform, climate change and immigration ---
including a directive to speed the reuniting of families separated at the
U.S.-Mexico border under Trump's policies.
More actions will be added, Klain said, once they clear legal review.
Incoming presidents traditionally move swiftly to sign an array of executive
actions when they take office. Trump did the same, but he found many of his
orders challenged and even rejected by courts.
Klain maintained that Biden should not suffer similar issues, saying "the
legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an
appropriate, constitutional role for the President."