Blazers are hopeful for the new administration, and have different ideas for what the Biden administration should prioritize through their policies
The Biden administration has not been in power long; however, in the first few weeks of their administration, they have implemented many impactful executive orders to undo many Trump-era policies.
While the Biden administration has a wide variety of policies to put in place and issues to address, many Blazers believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and current vaccine shortages should be the top priority. In January, the United States reached the tragic milestone of 400,000 Americans lost to COVID-19. Even though there are two tested and approved vaccines being distributed across the country, many states, including Maryland, are experiencing vaccine shortages. The United States has only fully vaccinated 5.1 percent of the population, and partially vaccinated 13 percent of the population.
During the primaries, the issues most important to sophomore Sam Valesquez were climate change and racial justice. Now, Velasquez believes COVID-19 should be the Biden administration’s top priority, but hopes Biden will be able to focus on other issues in the long run. “I think right now the Biden administration should focus on getting [COVID-19] under control so unemployment doesn’t become worse and less people get sick and die," Velasquez says. "I hope they will focus on racial injustice and climate change."
Velasquez did not have to wait long term for President Biden to start working on racial justice. On Biden’s first day in office he passed an executive order to promote racial equity. The executive order includes a variety of provisions to advance racial equity in the government itself and in the country through the reallocation of federal money and other resources. This order has the goal of “advanc[ing] equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
Velasquez is content with what the Biden administration has accomplished so far. “I’m happy…[COVID-19] cases are already getting lower and lower which is a good sign,” he notes. According to the New York Times, as of Feb. 9 COVID-19 cases have decreased by 35 percent in the past 14 days.
Junior Amelia Schuler agrees that Biden should focus on COVID-19. “The Biden administration’s top priority should be on pushing a more effective COVID-19 plan as well as working closely with states to form a more standard approach to distributing vaccines. The primary concern should be getting the virus under control, which I feel will help with other issues relating to the lockdown, such as unemployment and schooling,” Schuler says.
In Biden’s first nine days in office he has already signed 18 COVID-19 and COVID-19 related executive orders. The orders spanned from establishing a mask mandate on federal property, increasing safety in the workplace, dealing with food insecurity, and the COVID-19 stimulus relief package.
Velasquez isn’t alone in his hopes for the Biden administration. Freshman Maia Turpen hopes this administration will focus on climate change. “I hope they get the U.S. more environmentally conscious and implement more regulations for the oil industry and plastic products,” Turpen explains.
Similar to other issues, President Biden has already taken large steps through executive orders in his first nine days to address the climate crisis. A few notable orders include rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change, and canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. President Biden also signed multiple orders to prioritize climate change, climate change policy and research. Biden’s actions so far indicate that climate change will be a priority in his administration as both Turpen and Velasquez hoped. To find a full list with all of the executive orders President Biden signed in his first nine days, check here.
Schuler hopes the Biden administration will prioritize immigration and take a very different route when it comes to immigration policy in comparison to the Trump Administration. “In the long run I hope the Biden administration will focus on opening more to those seeking asylum as well as creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Schuler explains.
Although the Biden administration has been in power for a short amount of time Blazers are already happy with what he has accomplished. Although they may not know what to expect in this new chapter, they are hopeful. As Schuler notes, “I’m optimistic...I don’t know what to expect in the long run but so far I’m happy with the direction things are going.”
Isabel Corvington. Hi, I'm Isabel and I'm a senior! In my free time I enjoy listening to music and hanging out with friends :) More »