Government

Biden’s Presidential Agenda, Simplified

Word Count: 1012 Reading Time: 4:52

Key Questions to Consider

Introduction

In just a few more days, America will usher in a new leader with a new plan for the future of the nation. We will once again witness the transition of power, the hallmark of our democracy that has withstood the trials and tribulations of American history. Along with the transition of power, we will see a transition in the political agenda of the highest office in the land. This is a political overview of President-elect Joe Biden, a man with a history that dates back to his earliest days in the Senate. His ideologies and views underwent dramatic changes during this time period, as one would expect of someone that has held public office for almost a half-century. To really understand his agenda, we need to turn back the clock to his earliest days in public office, where he made important and career-defining decisions on legislature that would carry on for years to come. These decisions culminated in his vice-presidency under Barack Obama, where he undertook a more active position as Vice President in comparison to most of his predecessors. Here he continued to oversee and work on reforms, which brings us to where we are now, in January of 2021. Let’s take a closer look at the political ideologies of Biden.

What were Biden’s stances in the Senate?

Joe Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1973, becoming the youngest Democrat ever elected(although this was superseded by Jon Ossoff’s election). He entered as a moderate Democrat, describing himself in 1974 as liberal when it comes to civil rights and liberties, including health care and senior citizen liberties, but also conservative on abortion, amnesty and military conscription. His youthful and vivacious personality thrusted him into the spotlight, and he thrived, becoming the ranking minority member on the Senate Judiciary Committee just seven years later. Here he made crucial decisions on social issues, some which have come under scrutiny in recent times. For example, Biden supported the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, an act that would go on to have highly controversial ripple effects. However, Biden was able to lead the effort to turn that around with two integral pieces of legislation; the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the Violence Against Women Act. Another example of a controversial decision was Biden’s support of the Defense of Marriage Act, nullifying the government’s support of same-sex marriages and depriving those individuals of equal protection under the law. This would go on to be ruled unconstitutional via Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, under the vice-presidency of Biden himself. These are just a few examples of Biden’s legacy in the Senate.

What are Biden’s stances as President-elect?

Let’s fast-forward to 2021, where we have President-elect Biden set to become the oldest incoming president ever at 78, a stark contrast to the once youngest Senate Democrat at just 30. Biden’s stances now entail that of a more liberal figure, reversing his positions on same-sex marriage and abortion, and supporting climate change as well as reentry into the Paris Climate Agreement. Economically, Biden is in favor of NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as being a supporter of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which he plans to modify and expand on. As to his agenda as the incoming president, Biden seeks to roll back on four years of Donald Trump’s policies and now, having established a trifecta of Democrats in the House, Senate, and executive, Biden’s agenda as President will become a lot easier and effortless to carry out. His more imminent agenda includes a greater response to the pandemic, expanding on the Affordable Care Act, and lowering student debt. There is room for a sweeping climate agenda, including a goal to go completely clean on electricity by 2035 and reallocating $2 trillion for jobs in the green energy sector. With more Democratic power and an agenda with a long to-do list, Biden has a good shot at bringing his policies and ideas into fruition in this term.

How have Biden’s ideologies changed over time and what does it mean going forward?

Over time, Joe Biden has made huge shifts in his ideologies and policies, and this has drawn support from some people who believe that he is acclimating and changing with the times, but has also drawn the ire of critics who believe he doesn’t have a clear and direct message to the people. Biden is also coming of age, as he will be 78 on Inauguration Day and 82 by the time his first term is over, and the debate over age ensues as people argue between his profound experience and his mental capacity to serve the position. In the end, the decision is up to us, as existing or future constituents of this nation, to make educated inferences as Biden takes the helm of the long-standing democracy that is America.

Tl;DR

  • Biden has spent a considerably long time in the public eye, and as he prepares to assume the presidency in just a matter of days, we take a look at his policies throughout his established career and what to expect from President Biden.
  • As a Senator, Biden was considered a moderate, leaning liberal on a handful of issues such as health care and senior citizen rights, but also leaned conservative on abortion, conscription, and amnesty. He had a clear distinction from the more progressive Democrats in the Senate, and made it a point that he would make decisions by virtue of his own beliefs and the beliefs of the people.
  • As President-elect, Biden has now reversed his position on a number of issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage, and taking more liberal stances on issues such as climate change, immigration, and trade.
  • There’s debate over how Biden’s presidency could look, as he is an experienced public figure, but also coming of age, as he will be 78 when he becomes president and will be 82 at the end of his first term. There will be much speculation about which way his presidency will go, but it is up to voters to be informed and educated about the decisions he will make in the future.

References

Kapur, Sahil. “Biden’s Agenda Gets a Fighting Chance after Democrats Capture Senate Control.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Jan. 2021, http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/biden-s-agenda-gets-fighting-chance-after-democrats-capture-senate-n1253305.

Kelley, Kitty. “Death and the All-American Boy: Washingtonian (DC).” Washingtonian, 23 Oct. 2020, http://www.washingtonian.com/1974/06/01/joe-biden-kitty-kelley-1974-profile-death-and-the-all-american-boy/.

Krunzel, John. “PolitiFact – Joe Biden Claims He Was a Staunch Liberal in the Senate. He Wasn’t.” PolitiFact, 6 May 2019, http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/may/06/joe-biden/joe-biden-claims-he-was-staunch-liberal-senate-he-/.

Moore, Elena. “Biden’s First 100 Days: Here’s What To Expect.” NPR, NPR, 9 Nov. 2020, http://www.npr.org/2020/11/09/932190347/bidens-first-100-days-here-s-what-to-expect.

Newport, Frank. “Five Policy Changes on Biden’s Initial Agenda.” Gallup.com, Gallup, 8 Jan. 2021, news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/328337/five-policy-changes-biden-initial-agenda.aspx.

“Roll Call Vote 104th Congress – 2nd Session.” U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 104th Congress – 2nd Session, 16 Jan. 2020, http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=104&session=2&vote=00280.

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