Biden-Harris team sets priorities as Trump fights his loss

Washington: Rejoining Paris climate accords, reverse the withdrawal from WHO, restore DACA…. All these policy changes are expected to come up in the first days of Biden’s presidency. But the President-Elect has first started working on tackling  the most urgent crisis the country is facing: Covid-19 spread and its effect on the country’s economy.

But President Donald Trump has continued to mount legal challenges to election results in states Joe Biden flipped, and unless he gives the go ahead, smooth work on a smooth transition to the new administration cannot begin. A bit frustrated, Biden said on Monday “more people may die” if the outgoing President continues to block efforts to plan for a U.S. transition of power as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

Biden also met virtually with the CEOs of top U.S. companies and labor leaders on Monday and said they have signaled willingness to cooperate to fix the pandemic-battered U.S. economy but stressed COVID-19 first must be brought under control and urged Congress to pass relief legislation.

The President-elect has also been calling world leaders to establish relationships.  In a call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,  he said that alongside his VP Kamala Harris he wants to strengthen and expand relations between their countries. Working closely on the Covid-19 pandemic figured in their phone call, Biden’s transition team’s readout of the conversation said. Absent from the readout is any mention of cooperation in counter-terrorism.

As  Biden and Kamala Harris prepares to take office in January, at least two dozen Indian Americans have been nominated to the powerful transitional team.  Arun Majumdar, the director of the Precourt Institute of Energy at Stanford, is to head the team dealing with the Department of Energy. The team includes University of California Berkeley physics professor Ramamoorthy Ramesh.  Kiran Ahuja is the head of the team dealing with the federal administration’s HR agency, the federal investigation office for the civil service and the protection of whistleblowers.

These review teams are separate from the high-powered Covid-19 Advisory Board co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and includes Dr Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author.

Preet Bharara, Manhattan’s former top federal prosecutor who loomed large over Wall Street in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis, is reportedly a potential candidate to chair the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) under the Biden administration.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy C-Span)

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