Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, congressional Democrats have repeatedly tried to attach non-pandemic-related policy goals to relief package legislation.
Now, with media-proclaimed President-elect Joe Biden preparing to assume office in January, his administration is reportedly planning to redouble efforts to include legislation for progressive agenda items like climate change in a pandemic relief package, Breitbart reported.
That plan, of course, largely hinges on Democratic control of the Senate, which will depend on which party wins the two Georgia Senate runoff races in January.
Biden’s team is reportedly drawing up two different sets of plans, one focused on trying to achieve policy goals via legislation and the other based on accomplishing those goals through executive actions.
Pandemic relief bill
Should Democrats win both of the races in Georgia, the Senate would be tied 50-50 and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would play the tie-breaking role that could allow the left to squeeze through a few small and possibly bipartisan victories, The Associated Press reported.
If Republicans win one or both of those races, they would maintain control of the Senate and could halt Biden’s legislative agenda.
With regard to the left’s climate change agenda, the AP reported that Biden’s team is planning to attach reforms — such as taxpayer funding for “green” jobs and future target dates for a carbon-free energy system — to any coronavirus relief and stimulus deal that Congress will consider.
Those kinds of partisan policy goals would be extraordinarily difficult to pass on their own, but would likely fare better if combined with the desperately needed pandemic relief that Republicans may be hesitant to block.
Of course, success in that regard is no given even if Democrats eke out majority control of the Senate. This fact has prompted Biden’s team to make plans for a variety of executive actions to garner such left-wing achievements.
Last month, The Washington Post reported that rejoining the Paris Climate Accords was near the top of Biden’s agenda in terms of planned executive actions.
“The policy team, the transition policy teams, are focusing now very much on executive power,” an unnamed Biden “ally” connected to the team told The Post. “I expect that to be freely used in a Biden administration at this point, if the Senate becomes a roadblock.”
One potential problem with that route, as was seen repeatedly throughout Trump’s first term, is that virtually any executive action, particularly on hot-button issues, will inevitably face legal challenges and could be tied up in the court system for months or even years. This means Biden doesn’t have an easy route to achieve climate change goals no matter which way he turns.