While the transition of power can always include sudden changes, the transition from Trump to Biden – from a president seeking to undermine established norms and institutions to one. another has vowed to restore the established order – which will be one of the most astonishing things in American history.
Biden’s top advisers have spent months quietly working to figure out the best way to get on with his agenda, with hundreds of transition officials set to work in various federal agencies. . They̵7;ve put together a book filled with his campaign commitments to help guide their early decisions.
Biden is planning to form a coronavirus anti-virus task force on Monday, as he is aware that the global pandemic will be the main problem he faces. The task force, likely to begin meeting in the next few days, will be co-chaired by former surgeons Vivek H. Murthy and David Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Those around him also acknowledged that he may have to rely more on operations than he had ever hoped for. He can reorient various federal agencies and regulations and he can adopt a different stance on the world stage.
But pushing big laws to pass Congress can be a challenge.
Although Democrats will have a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, the final structure of the Senate remains unclear. That will be decided on January 5, with two elections flowing in Georgia. Democrats will need to win both races to effectively take control of the Senate – with Vice President Kamala D. Harris as the Republican voter – while Republicans will keep a narrow edge. way to win at least one.
“The policy group, the transition policy group, is currently focusing a lot on executive power,” said a Biden ally, who contacted his team, like others interviewed for this story. , said on condition of anonymity for private discussion. chats. “I hope that will be used freely in the Biden administration at this point, if the Senate becomes a barrier.”
The Republican-held Senate – or even the one with a narrow Democratic majority – will likely influence Biden’s Cabinet choices since the Senate has the power to confirm candidates.
One option being discussed is appointing Cabinet members as acting, a tactic Trump has also used.
“Based on the calendar and the number of filled positions, it’s always a possibility,” said the person. “Because the Senate is now moving too slowly, much slower than it used to be.”
On Saturday afternoon, about two hours after the networks called Biden the winner of the election, the president-elect had a brief call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) And Minority Leader Senate number Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.), who called to congratulate Biden on a “huge victory”, according to two Democrats.
If Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Remained as majority leader, he would try to run a torn conference between two sides with different interests, but not necessarily a desire to help Biden. – one with senators running for re-election in 2022, and the other with those seeking national attention as they vie for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) Say: “In the old days, delegation meant that the other party would be more comfortable, or feel motivated to work. “I’m not sure that applies anymore.”
It is not clear whether Biden has contacted McConnell directly; The aides have not yet commented on any conversations.
A tightly divided Congress could hamper Biden’s efforts to take far-reaching legislative action on immigration changes. He also said he would send a bill to Congress to repeal liability protections for gun manufacturers and close background check loopholes. He has pledged to abolish Republican-approved tax cuts since 2017, an effort that could be hindered if the Republicans have a majority in the Senate.
Without Congressional cooperation, however, Biden has said that he plans to immediately reverse Trump’s withdrawal of the 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration has adopted.
He will also introduce new ethical guidelines at the White House and he has pledged to sign an executive order on the first day of his inauguration saying that no member of his administration can influence any of the proceedings. any investigation by the Ministry of Justice.
Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), A longtime Biden ally who holds the chair that Biden has had for 36 years, gives an overview of the original agenda. by Biden: “Getting us out of the pandemic that made Trump much worse mishandled, rebuilding our economy in a more sustainable and inclusive way, while solving the split problem. turn and inequality. “
He noted that Biden’s style would be quite different, saying that Trump and Pelosi hadn’t spoken in more than a year.
The Coons suggested that Biden would quickly initiate contact with the leaders of both sides.
The coronavirus’s response was the most important thing on Biden’s mind, and it was seen during his campaign as a major reason for his victory. Before that, he said that even before his inauguration, he contacted Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, to ask him for advice.
Biden also wants to quickly appoint a supply commander to oversee the production and delivery of test – and when ready, vaccines – as well as materials such as masks and gowns.
Coronavirus – and Biden’s response to it – can also have a significant impact on the traditional spectacle surrounding the transfer of power. The inauguration ball can be changed. And while Biden has previously said that he wouldn’t envision wearing a mask when sworn in, he did say they could try to curb the traditional crowds that fill the steps of Congress. States.
Much of Biden’s initial agenda – which includes which parts of the law to prioritize – will be set in the coming weeks as his transition team begins to take on a much more prominent role.
Biden‘S forward The effort is being supervised by Ted Kaufman, one of his closest advisers. Kaufman, who was appointed to replace Biden in the Senate when Biden became vice-president in 2009, also helped co-draft an update of the transitional law, passed in 2015 and approved by President Barack. Obama signed.
Biden’s transition team has been given government-issued computers and iPhones to make secure communications and 10,000 square feet of office space in the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, though most of the work is underway. done almost because of the coronavirus pandemic. His advisers have been granted a temporary security license and go through an FBI background check to quickly track the process of personnel handling that may receive brief intelligence briefings.
But the next important step is for the head of the Government Services Regulatory Authority to decide that the election results are final, allowing Biden’s transition team to expand work and access to its own funds. covered. Biden officials are ready for legal action if that manager – Emily W. Murphy, a Trump politically appointed man – defers that decision, according to officials familiar with the matter.
Trump has so far not conceded defeat, wrongly declaring on Saturday that he won the election.
Pamela Pennington, spokesperson for GSA, said that Murphy will define “a candidate who succeeds clearly when a winner is clear based on the process set out in the Constitution”. Until that decision is made, she said, the Biden transitional team will continue to receive limited access to government resources.
The transition from Trump to Biden will have little historical similarity, perhaps only occurring in 1860-1861, when the southern states broke apart before Abraham Lincoln took office, and 1932-1933, when Herbert Hoover sought how to undermine Franklin D. Roosevelt and prevent him from implementing his new Transaction policy.
The last time there was a prolonged delay in the transfer of power was in 2000, when uncertainty over the outcome of the competition between then-Vice President Al Gore (D) and Governor of Texas when it was George W. Bush (R) stretched out. until the Supreme Court ends the recount in Florida bringing Bush victory on December 12.
The Bush administration’s slow start and lack of qualified personnel in place were cited by the 9/11 Commission Report as a critical vulnerability to US national security due to the attacks. less than 8 months after the inauguration. That has spurred changes to the law and granting access to an earlier date under political conventions.
“When George W. Bush left, he made it clear to his Cabinet that this would be the best transfer of power ever. Because we weren’t treated well when we came to power, ”said Michael Leavitt, who was then Secretary of Health and Human Services. “Barack Obama said the same thing to his creditors. There is a spirit of cooperation that has continued and needs to continue. Whether it is or not, I don’t know. But we were better prepared ”.
Chris Lu, executive director of the 2008 Obama-Biden transition, said that within two hours of the election called in 2008, he had an official letter starting the transition.
“It’s true 9 o’clock the next morning, we walk into a transition office and have access to it,” he said. “It is the model for the smoothest handover of power.”
Clearly breaking the Trump administration’s rivalry on civil service is also a top priority for the Biden transition group.
The Trump administration’s distrust of professional officials and early calls for them to “join the program” or “go” created tension with the upcoming political appointees never to vanish. Biden officials are hoping to create a positive atmosphere by avoiding some of the terms and labels they claim have contributed to the distrust.
Teams consisting of campaign personnel and other aides first joined government agencies after a previous election known as the “landing team” and the “first team”, reiterating the memory of Normandy storms during World War II.
In order to avoid any ties to the war, some of Biden’s aides are adhere to serious bureaucratic jargon, calling the landing teams “ARTs” or dealer review team, and members of the seafaring group is “temporary staff”.
So far, Trump administration officials have reviewed succession plans for ministry officials, planning which civil servants will take on the acting roles in the vacant positions. The briefing is scheduled to be delivered over the next few days to Biden’s transition team.
Leavitt, who oversees transition planning in 2012 for Republican candidate Mitt Romney and has worked with Kaufman to change the law governing presidential transitions, says there are a series of moves that The Biden team can perform even without the cooperation from Trump’s campaign. Cabinet members and other top White House employees may be selected, and key priorities for starting administration can be arranged.
“The present moment always seems extreme, and often it is. But we surpass them. Country exists, ”he said. “The intrinsic strength of the United States allows us to overcome these.”
John Hudson contributed to this report.