Carolyn Kaster / AP
President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday, as the ballots were still being tabled in states across the country, that voters were loud to accept the policies and principles he campaigned for. .
“They have given us the task of action on COVID and the economy and climate change and systemic racism,” Biden said in a late night speech in Wilmington, Del. “They make it clear that they want the country to come together – not separate.”
Biden followed on Saturday night by calling on Democrats and Republicans to come together after the election and pledge to join them.
“And I believe this is part of a mission from the American people. They want us to cooperate,” Biden said. “That’s the choice I’m going to make. And I call on Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to make that choice with me.”
But Biden, who secured enough votes to win the electoral college on Saturday morning, will face a narrowly divided Congress when he takes office in January. Biden’s significant lead in the popular vote did not translate into a wave of Democracy in the House and Senate, leaving Biden without the votes needed to pursue an active legislative agenda in Congress.
The Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives but the GOP gained the edge, gaining at least five seats in the election. Senate control will remain undecided until early January following a pair of foreign elections in Georgia.
Republican response to Biden’s victory was muted as the focus shifted to GOP’s efforts to protect incumbent Minister Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in those Georgia seats. So far, most Republican Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Have not congratulated Biden or acknowledged his victory.
But Democrats have called those races the decisive factor for Biden’s agenda success. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, used Biden’s victory as an appeal to arms in Georgia races.
“The majority of Democrats in the US Senate will be the one making the biggest difference helping President-elect Biden bring working families across the country and in Georgia, where for so long they’ve been President Trump denies the help they need, Mitch McConnell and the Republican-led Senate, ”Schumer said in a statement. “The best way to ensure that positive agendas can be implemented and help working families in Georgia and across the country are to elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate.”
Republicans, such as Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, began to form the GOP Senate as an important scrutiny of progressive policies before the final vote, a possible message will be the focus of the Georgia campaign.
Cornyn told the NPR a few days before the election: “Democrats can’t get rid of opposition and you know, turn DC into a state – or Puerto Rico.” “So it will force the White House and the Senate to compromise and negotiate.”
Regardless of the outcome in Georgia, the winners will occupy a narrow majority in the Senate. And Democrats will be forced to contend for a split within their party over some of the biggest policy entries on Biden’s list.
Among the most controversial is the plan to combat climate change. Democrats themselves are not entirely in agreement on how to approach the issue. The split on how quickly and drastically moving to curb carbon emissions has sizzled within the party since radical lawmakers like Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, put The new Green Agreement – a plan to eliminate carbon emissions by 2030 – goes back to 2019.
Biden has proposed a $ 2 trillion plan to combat global warming, including expanding solar and wind power, a network of electric vehicle charging stations, and a plan to hit net emissions. zero by 2050. But many moderate Democrats are skeptical of those plans, and Republicans scoff at the proposal and oppose successful proposals in states like Texas and South Dakota. .
Republican Senator Mike Rounds, who was re-elected this week in South Dakota, echoed the message likely to dominate the GOP’s opposition to many of Biden’s proposals.
“When you think about what they’re proposing, with tax increases and changes in our economy, they’re talking about changes related to our energy performance,” Rounds said. end of last month. “They’re talking about a ‘Green New Deal’, which will cost $ 90 trillion in 10 years. We can’t afford that. And most of us don’t think a Biden President can. Stop the people on the left from promoting it. “
To get past such a huge climate overhaul would require the kind of monthly, or year-long political investment that would have been costing Washington during President Obama’s push through the Price Care Act. in 2009. Such an attempt is a political risk with full Washington control and probably not possible if the Republicans control the Senate.
The radical activists are also calling on Biden to tackle another party split issue, Medicare for All. Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Both oppose the plan and want Obamacare to be expanded instead with a public option. But the advancers argue that the party has turned to mainstream government-funded healthcare.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted shortly after Biden’s victory was announced that every House Democrat accepting progressive health plans is either re-elected or is on track to be re-elected.
Every House Democrat with a #MedicareForAll swivel chair has won re-election or is on track to win re-election.
Every.👏🏽 Single.👏🏽 One.👏🏽
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 7, 2020
Like climate change, Medicare for All will be a full-blown political endeavor in a time when the country is still struggling with a deadly pandemic.
And Biden himself has promised to put his top priority on COVID relief.
“I want everyone to know that on Day One, we are going to have a plan to control this virus,” Biden said on Friday. “That may not save any lives lost, but it will save a lot of lives in the coming months.”
Biden has repeatedly promised that one of his top priorities is to take immediate steps to combat and control the spread of coronavirus, which has increased in recent weeks. His plans include investment in extensive testing with the Pandemic Control Board and a large Public Health Employment Organization as well as enhancing traceability and more production and distribution capabilities. personal protective equipment. His plan also includes a job promotion plan to support economic recovery.
In his speech Saturday, Biden said his administration’s work will begin with pandemic management and has committed to starting work as early as next week.
“On Monday, I will appoint a team of top scientists and experts as the Transition Advisor to help implement the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action plan starting on the 20th. January 2021, “Biden said. “That plan will be built on a scientific foundation. It will be built on compassion, empathy and concern.”
His proposal is consistent with policies contained in a number of bills passed by Democrats in the House of Representatives. But Republicans rejected two comprehensive coronavirus packages that the House of Representatives approved.
McConnell has said that the strong number of jobs announced this month reinforces his belief that any COVID-related law should be significantly removed from the Democrats’ plans.
McConnell told reporters this week in Kentucky: “I think it reinforces the argument I’ve made over the past few months that something is smaller – instead of throwing another 3 trillion dollars on the matter – is more suitable. “It’s highly targeted at things that are directly related to the coronavirus, which we all know won’t go away until we get vaccinated.”
Congressional leaders have said they hope to pass some COVID relief by the end of the year but Democrats have long insisted they expect the economy to need more support next year. 2021.