Former Vice President and 2020 White House frontrunner Joe Biden has vowed he will use executive powers and other means to accomplish an ambitious set of campaign promises on his very first day as president.
Here is a list of five proposals that the former vice president vows to get done on “Day One” of a Biden administration:
1. Repeal President Donald Trump’s tax reform law.
Appearing June 22nd before the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention, Biden detailed his plans to combat income inequality in the United States, claiming economic disparities are at an “all-time high and made worse by Trump’s tax cuts and enormous giveaways to the top one-tenth of the 1 percent.”
“On Day One, I will move to eliminate Trump’s tax cuts, as well for the super-wealthy,” he vowed.
In December 2017, the House voted 224-201 to pass the overhaul, with all Democrats and 12 Republicans voting against it. The $1.5 trillion tax bill is the first major overhaul of the tax code in 30 years; it cuts corporate taxes and gives temporary cuts to individual tax brackets that will return to current rates after a few years to help pay for the tax cut.
The tax bill slashed corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent. For individuals, it reduces the top income tax bracket from 39.6 percent to 37 percent and doubles the size of inheritances protected from estate taxation to $22 million for married couples.
2. Close billions in dollars worth of tax loopholes.
In the same June speech before the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention, Biden said he will move on “Day One” to close up to $500 billion worth of tax loopholes in an effort to allocate the money for what he described as “good use.”
In another speech, Biden said he would close loopholes to help pay for universal access to Medicaid.
“I think everyone is entitled to have total health care,” he told the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Action Congress at Trinity University. “Every single person in the United States should have access to Medicaid right off the bat.”
3. Sign climate change-focused executive orders.
According to Biden’s campaign website, the former vice president, as president, will sign a series of executive orders “with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform and put us on the right track.”
The object, the candidate claims, is to “achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”
Biden calls for $1.7 trillion in federal spending over 10 years, with the rest of the investments coming from the private sector. He proposes covering the taxpayer costs by repealing the corporate tax cuts that President Donald Trump signed in 2017, while eliminating existing subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
Biden’s plan — a mix of tax incentives, federal spending, new regulation and more aggressive foreign policy on climate issues —comes as he pushes back on rivals’ assertions that his environmental agenda isn’t bold enough. Climate activists largely praised his pitch Tuesday, although some said the Democrats’ 2020 front-runner still hasn’t gone far enough to challenge the fossil fuel industry.
His proposal calls the Green New Deal pushed by some Democrats on Capitol Hill “a crucial outline” but stops short of some of its timelines for weaning the U.S. economy off power from fossil fuels, even as he promises a “clean energy revolution” nationwide and internationally.
At the pro-Green New Deal Sunrise Movement, executive director Varshini Prakash called Biden’s plan “a good start.”
As president, Biden has said he would start by reversing many actions of the Trump administration, then turn to necessary congressional action and executive branch regulation, while using U.S. political and economic muscle to limit emissions from other nations.
He acknowledges that such an overhaul would affect existing U.S. energy workers — coal miners and power plant operators, especially. He calls first for pension and benefit protections for all such workers and promises an “unprecedented investment” in retraining and redevelopment in those communities.
4. Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
Biden’s campaign website states Biden will re-enter the Paris Agreement on day one of his Administration and begin leading “a major diplomatic push to raise the ambitions of countries’ climate targets.”
Then-President Barack Obam and more than 190 countries adopted the Paris accord, hailed as most ambitious climate change agreement in history. Among its chief objective, the pact aimed to limit global warming well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. President Trump announced in June 2017 that the U.S. was pulling out of the agreement. In his announcement, the president said: “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”
In June 2017, Biden said that it is “overwhelmingly” in the interest of future generations to deal with climate change, “notwithstanding what some of the folks in this administration may think.”
Biden explained his first report from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he took office, identified global warming as the greatest danger to U.S. physical security — through population displacement and war.
Speaking at a conference in Athens, Biden, without citing any specific poll, proclaimed: “The vast majority of the American people do not agree with the decision the president made.”
French president Emmanuel Macron has claimed that President Trump signaled possible interested in rejoining the agreement, though the administration has shown no signs of doing so.
5. Make all DREAMers legal in the United States.
In his first interview with a Spanish-language television network, Biden on Tuesday discussed his proposals to fix the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and other immigration issues. The former vice president told Noticias Telemundo that he would legalize all DREAMers in the country. “The day I get elected president I’m going to — DREAMers are going to be legalized, number one,” he said.
“Number two,” he continued, “we have to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people. Thirdly, we have to, in fact, welcome people who are seeking asylum and make a judgment about whether or not their claim is relevant and real, and not lock them up in the meantime or not keep them from even getting to the border.”
Then-President Obama used an executive order to create DACA in June 2012 to provide protections for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. It gives them the ability to obtain work permits and study in the country, provided they meet certain guidelines like graduating from high school and do not present a risk to national or public safety. Some 800,000 so-called Dreamers are protected under the program.
President Donald Trump announced in 2017 plans to wind down the DACA program, saying it would give Congress a chance to pass “responsible” immigration reform.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions determined the program to be unlawful on the grounds that President Barack Obama did not have the authority to adopt it in the first place. Sessions cited a 2015 ruling by the federal appeals court in New Orleans that blocked a separate immigration policy implemented by Obama and the expansion of the DACA program.
Texas and other Republican-led states eventually did sue and won a partial victory in a federal court in Texas. Civil rights groups, advocates for illegal immigrants, and Democratic-led states all have sued to prevent the end of the program.
In May, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ending the DACA program was a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act since it was “arbitrary and capricious.” It also is being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The Supreme Court declined a Trump administration request in June to speed up its review on whether it will take up a case on the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.
The court’s order does not mean it won’t eventually hear the case, only that justices refused to speed up the process, which the Trump administration requested last month.
BONUS: Make LGBT rights his first legislative priority.
In June, Biden pledged to prioritize the Equality Act as his first piece of legislation if elected to the White House. Passing the Equality Act “will be the first thing” he would “ask to be done” he vowed in a keynote address before activists at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Ohio gala.
The Equality Act would make “gender identity” a protected minority class, thus forcing private businesses to accommodate transgender individuals in virtually all forms of commerce or else face penalties for “discrimination.” It recently passed the Democrat-run House, but will not become law under Trump and the Republican Senate.
“It will be the first thing I ask to be done,” the presidential candidate declared at the time.
The Associated Press and UPI contributed to this report.