Biden is finally the 45th President of the United States of America, and it is immediately taking to task some of the most contested, controversial policies rolled out by the Trump Administration in the last four years. The president planned to take aggressive executive actions in the first 10 days and passed a total of 17 on the Inauguration day.
The differences between Biden and former administration of Trump can be seen most glaringly on the issues such as Immigration, COVID Strategy, and in how the United States is going to position itself – if at all, in Trump’s case – in international organizations. The Biden-Harris Administration began by rejoining World Health Organization following the inauguration, which came to be dominated in terms of funding by Bill Gates, People’s Republic of China, and the UK after Trump abruptly left it.
On COVID-19, Biden has taken stronger stance than Trump, and has mandated wearing masks on all federal grounds. He has also revived the Global Health Unit of National Security to coordinate globally on pandemic preparedness, which was allowed to go inactive during Trump Administration. Biden has ordered federal agencies to further extend moratoriums on evictions at least through March and on student loan payments till 30th September. A week before being formally inaugurated, Joe Biden had proposed a $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package covering unemployment benefits and $1400 in stimulus payments to millions of Americans. He cannot pass this without the US Congress approval.
The another set of important and contested executive decisions came on the reversal of Trump’s immigration policy. Biden assured the Latin American countries and the Mexican President personally on call about easing the immigration process, by proposing legislation to ease immigration and citizenship process from 13 years to eight. Biden signed an order repealing the ban on travel from several majority-Muslim nations, while nullifying the Trump administration’s directive that attempted to exclude the counting of non-citizens and ‘illegal immigrants’ from the U.S. census. Biden also ended the National Emergency at US-Mexico Border that Trump invoked to bypass Congress when it refused to fund his wall.
On the issues of Climate Change and Environment, Biden began the process of rejoining Paris Climate Agreement, and US will become again become an official participant of Paris Agreement in 30 days. Biden also signed an order revoking the permit, issued by the Trump administration, that allowed for the construction of the polluting and anti-indigenous Keystone XL pipeline.
Biden – who perhaps in above comparison with someone as reactionary as Trump could be looking good – is however not a radical break from him. What Biden has been an expert of in his last 50 years and continues to be so is in creating a ‘consensus’ between centrist Democrats and neo-conservative Republicans, in ‘establishing the status quo’, and in the present case, in returning to something close to Obama Era. Joe Biden’s promise itself in his bid against Bernie Sanders was that ‘nothing would fundamentally change’, a promise of keeping things as they are, with minor legislations here and there.
Another sphere proving this is Foreign Policy, where Joe Biden seems to be differing from Trump in only minor ways. He will continue to observe Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela, and will intend to keep the US Embassy in Jerusalem itself. On China too, Biden has found merit in Trump’s handling and will accept the approach of confronting China rather than peacefully engaging with it. Biden however wants to ‘review’ Trump’s proposal of US Army steadfastly retreating from Afghanistan by May 2021. A significant point of difference could also be in US’ relationship with Europe, which seems more enthusiastic to engage with Biden than Trump.
Biden is also definitively closer to tech monopoly capital than Trump was, not due to any serious anti-monopoly approach of the latter but because of the danger seen in him by the established liberal-capitalist order. This can be seen through the relationship of Biden Administration with the Big Tech Industry of US, which are not only the biggest corporates in the world, but also share a very cozy relationship with the Biden Administration, with many of their own ex-employees part of the Government.
Thus, in sum, even though Biden might be reversing some of the disastrous policies of the previous administration, he is determined to preserve the status quo of Neoliberalism. Be it Biden or Trump, it is probable that America will still continue to have a student debt running in trillions of Dollars, will remain the only major country without Universal Healthcare, will continue to have children in cages through ICE, and will never have even a Green New Deal. The Demands of Black Lives Matter have since long been forgotten anyway.