Biden’s Day-One Agenda: Federal Mask Mandate

Gage Skidmore, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What we know about Biden’s first-day checklist

Nov 7, 2020

Quartz – All US presidential candidates have an ambitious list of tasks they promise to accomplish on the first day of their presidency.

Whether or not they can actually fit a few hours of work between their noon inauguration and the evening galas, the promised Day One agenda is filled with items of heightened importance to their electoral base.

Often, they involve reversing unpopular actions of their predecessors and can be accomplished by executive order without waiting for Congress.

President-elect Joe Biden’s to-do list is particularly long. Between the items he specifically identified as day one tasks and other urgent matters, it’s likely accomplishing them all will occupy his first weeks and months in office.

Here’s some of what’s on his Day One agenda.

Rejoin the WHO

On July 7, president Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the US from the World Health Organization [the United Nations’ global health agency] on the grounds that the agency was biased towards China.

That same day, Joe Biden vowed to reverse that decision on his first day as president.

Though Trump had a point — China did stymie WHO’s early efforts to get data on Covid-19 cases — it’s clear that more global coordination, not less, is the key to combating this and any future pandemics.

Federal mask mandate

Biden has said that even before inauguration, he’d reach out Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, for advice on how to combat the pandemic. One recommendation Fauci has endorsed before: make masks mandatory.

In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stopped just short of recommending one, instead issuing a “strong recommendation” for mask use on transportation such as planes, trains, and ride-share vehicles. Widespread use of masks could save 130,000 lives by March, according to a recent study.

Biden, who has positioned himself as a pro-science candidate, has already said that he would issue an executive order requiring masks on federal property, which would include transportation as the CDC recommends. This could have a snowball effect on state and local governments that don’t already have such policies in place … Read more. 

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