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From the coronavirus to the environment, Biden plans to take government in new direction

By Brian Contreras, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Despite outlining a detailed agenda on his website, President-elect Joe Biden's campaign often focused less on policies than his temperament and character, seeking to make the election a referendum on President Donald Trump's four years in office.

Now that Biden has begun announcing Cabinet appointments before taking office Jan. 20, attention is turning to how he will govern. A review of Biden's speeches, campaign website and interviews suggests that his administration's priorities are a mix of rolling back Trump administration actions, expanding on President Barack Obama's initiatives and advocating for such progressive policies as criminal justice reform and investing in green jobs.

In that regard, Biden's platform embodies the same broad, compromise-driven coalition that won him the White House.

COVID-19

On the coronavirus, Biden has repeatedly said he will give priority to advice from public health experts and let them drive America's pandemic response.

Unlike Trump, Biden has been a vocal advocate for broader use of face masks to reduce the spread of infection, a position broadly backed by public health officials.

 

During the speech in which he introduced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, he pledged that his administration would offer "a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of COVID-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic." Among the elements he cited were "masking; clear, science-based guidance; dramatically scaling up testing" and "giving states and local governments the resources they need to open schools and businesses safely."

He has also said that "scientists and public health experts should decide on (the) safety and efficacy" of any vaccine. "The White House should not weigh in on these matters or push the FDA to provide emergency authorizations prematurely," he said in a statement in late July.

Elsewhere, Biden pledged emergency housing support for tenants threatened with eviction during the pandemic.

More recently, he has urged Congress to provide economic relief and public health funding, and for Trump to coordinate with his incoming officials on a vaccine distribution plan, warning that "more people may die if we don't coordinate."

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