January 20 was marked by Biden’s inauguration as president. It came and went relatively calmly, despite apprehensions following the Capitol invasion on January 6. But what can we expect from Biden’s presidency? Well, his campaign website lists 49 different plans. Here are some of those plans cherry-picked for optimum relevance to students.
COVID – 19
The president assures us that he will trust science in informing his policies and actions in regards to COVID-19. He will ramp up the production of personal protective equipment via the Defense Production Act, double the number of testing sites, implement national mask mandates, and “provide clear, consistent, evidence-based national guidance.”
Biden will also protect the elderly and minorities through a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force as well as a Nationwide Pandemic Board that will provide real-time data on the status and location of the transmission of the virus in a given zip code.
Biden will invest 25 billion in the manufacturer of the vaccine to ensure equal distribution to citizens for free.
Joe Biden has made the hefty promise of making a two-year college education free for any “hard-working individual.” Four-year degrees would be free for those whose families make below 125,000 per year. He also promises to halve payments on undergraduate student loans, double the maximum value of Pell grants, and provide a $10,000 a year debt relief program for public servants.
Biden’s administration will support, fund, and enact a slew of programs aimed at supporting small businesses and minorities, including the State Small Business Credit Initiative, the New Market Tax Credit, the Small Business Administration, the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, and more.
The president will ensure economic relief reaches Black communities via the Paycheck Protection Program and ensure non-profits, such as churches, have access to this program as well. The PPP provides loans to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic.
Biden will establish a national standard for appraising houses to prevent them from being undervalued due to the homeowner’s race.
Biden will enact a “fair chance policy” that will remove many barriers for employment to people with records by limiting the situations in which they are required to disclose their records.
A new credit reporting agency will create a government option that will tackle discriminatory practices by “accepting non-traditional sources of data like rental history and utility bills to establish credit.”
Additionally, Biden intends to combat discrimination in housing and lending through supporting various programs and rules as well as eliminating discriminatory housing regulations.
Biden vowed to enact the Equality Act within his first 100 days as president. This would ensure “consistent and explicit” protection under civil rights laws to members of the LGBTQ community, including employment and housing.
Biden has promised to appoint federal officials and judges who represent the LGBTQ community, reverse the military transgender ban, and give people the option of M, F, or X on important documents, such as passports and IDs.
Biden has also promised to encourage various federal and state-funded programs that protect transgender and non-binary individuals from workforce discrimination, address the unique needs of LGBTQ veterans and seniors, prevent discrimination for LGBTQ families that wish to adopt, among many other promises listed on his website.
Biden will support the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would finally amend the constitution to include an amendment that explicitly guarantees equal rights for women and prohibit sex-based discrimination.
Biden claims to “stand on the side of survivors” by reversing Betsy Devos’s changes to Title IX which limited survivors to only report assault if there was “clear and convincing evidence,” instead of a “preponderance of evidence.”
The president will triple federal funding to Title I which pays for teacher’s salaries, a job often filled by women. Biden’s website lists many more promises to improve the lives of women in the United States.
Biden claims we will reach a 100% clean energy economy within 29 years, a feat accomplished per Biden by passing a multitude of executive orders.
Biden will recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement, an international treaty intending to tackle climate change.
Every city with over 100,000 residents will receive zero-emission transportation, according to the President.
Biden will establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Department of Justice, proposed by our very own Governor Inslee, which will increase enforcement of anti-pollution policies.
Biden intends to ban the sale of assault weapons. For current assault weapons in possession, Biden will require them to be registered under the National Firearms Association, a measure he asserts has already decreased violence from other weapons, such as machine guns, that register with the NFA already.
Biden intends to reduce weapon stockpiling by limiting their purchase to only once a month.
Biden will require a background check for all gun sales, and close various loopholes, such as the “hate crime loophole,” thus preventing persons convicted of a hate crime from purchasing firearms. However, you can still buy a firearm without a background check if it is gifted to you by a close family member.
President Biden has only been in office for a few days but has already signed a myriad of executive orders to fulfill his campaign promises. Let us hope that he keeps the ball rolling.
Harlow Poffenberger is a Visual Media student at Seattle Central College where she works as an editor at The Seattle Collegian and curates the weekly ART SPACE column. Harlow also likes thru-hiking, traveling, and other adventurous pursuits, and once lived in a house with a bear.