WTF Community

Biden/Harris Administration - Legislative objectives, Cabinet picks, Challenges & more

Time to highlight what Biden/Harris hope to do in their new Administration and proposing a spot for this.

Senior Democratic lawmakers are moving to fulfill President Biden’s desire to expand the child tax credit by drafting legislation that would direct the Internal Revenue Service to send recurring monthly payments to tens of millions of American families, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share knowledge of the internal discussion.

Under one draft of the plan being discussed, the IRS would be tasked with depositing checks worth $300 every month per child younger than 6, as well as $250 every month per child aged 6 to 17. That would amount to $3,600 over the course of the year for young children, as well as $3,000 a year for older children, the officials said.

Unlike the stimulus checks, the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to make these child benefits a permanent government program that would continue in future years, according to three senior Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. The current proposal only calls for the expanded benefit to be enacted for one year, after which Democrats widely hope political pressure will force Congress to extend them. The benefit would be phased out for affluent Americans, though the precise income level has not been determined.


Newly appointed (today) Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Am glad he’s on board.


I am glad to see the former Lt Col Vindman smile and feel congratulatory towards Biden’s win
and perhaps another Impeachment.


A bill introduced in Congress to award Officer Eugene Goodman Congressional Gold Medal
for leading the insurrections away from the open doored Senate chambers.


On Biden’s agenda


MAGA media looks to turn White House briefing room into a battlefield

Some Trump loving members of the press corps are eager to get access to the Biden White House.

1 Like

Ok…Biden talks to Putin and confronts him on some issues.
That is new.


Executive Order to end US relation with Private Prisons, and to no renew contracts.

In the 1990s, Joe Biden bragged that his work in the U.S. Senate helped America win the “War on Crime.” Decades later, one of his first acts as president will be to undo one of the most potent symbols of that record.

Included in a raft of executive orders designed to address systemic racism in the housing and criminal justice systems that Biden intends to sign on Tuesday afternoon is an order ending the Department of Justice’s use of private prisons. Such facilities, operated across the country, are a billion-dollar industry, paid for with taxpayer money and often plagued by dehumanizing conditions for inmates, minimal training of personnel, and work conditions that former detainees liken to slave labor.

Mass incarceration imposes significant costs on our society and community, while private prisons profiteer off federal prisoners and have been found by the Department of Justice’s own inspector general to be less safe and secure,” a senior administration official told reporters on a briefing ahead of the announcement of the executive orders’ contents, calling the policy a “first step in his broader criminal justice agenda.”

President Biden is committed to reducing mass incarceration while making our communities safer,” the official said. “That starts with ending the federal government’s reliance on private prisons.”

As the architect of the landmark legislation he once dubbed “The Biden Crime Bill,” Biden spent much of the Democratic presidential primaries on the back foot as rivals for the nomination attacked the law as a driving force behind the modern carceral state. Amid nationwide protests over police brutality against Black Americans and in favor of wide-scale criminal justice reform over the summer, Biden expressed regret over some aspects of that bill, which included funds for the vast expansion of America’s prison system, and vowed to undo the damage if elected.

‘I can’t breath.’ It’s a wake-up call for our nation, for all of us,” Biden said in June, quoting the dying words of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who was killed as a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. “It’s not the first time we’ve heard these words—they’re the same words we heard from Eric Garner when his life was taken six years ago. But it’s time to listen to these words, understand them, and respond to them with real action.”

Under the order, Biden directs the attorney general—as-yet-unconfirmed Judge Merrick Garland—to not renew any Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. The administration official said they did not know exactly how much money would be saved by ending the use of private prisons, but added cost savings were not “the motivating factor.”

The motivating factor, however, was the fact that private prisons, not only, you know, encouraged profiteering off of human lives but more importantly had been shown by the Department of Justice Inspector General report to be subpar in terms of safety and security for those incarcerated and so that is the rationale for ending the contracts with private private prisons,” the official said. “When they come up for renewal, they won’t be renewed.”


Dems may have to go the route of reconciliation as a means to put through the Rescue Plan and possibly an Infrastructure plans. They do not have an overwhelming majority - 60, in the Senate, so they may need to do this budgeting tool.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) covered a lot of ground with Rachel last night, but there was one comment he made, almost in passing, which is worth keeping in mind as the new Congress unfolds.

In context, the Democratic leader described an ambitious program to help consumers make the switch to electric vehicles. He added, referring to his climate plan:

“By the way, President Biden very graciously made it part of his Build It Back Better Plan, which does a lot on climate. And we’re looking at how we may … fit as much of it into reconciliation as we can, because we get two reconciliation motions: one for COVID and then one probably for Build It Back Better.”

For those who don’t follow such things closely, I imagine some of this might’ve been confusing, so let’s unpack the process Schumer was describing.

Democrats have all kinds of policies and proposals they’re eager to tackle over the next two years, and nearly all of them are likely to fail because of the Senate’s filibuster rules: Republicans will demand 60-vote supermajorities on legislation, and since there aren’t 10 GOP senators willing to break ranks and help Democrats pass their agenda, those bills will die, even if a majority of lawmakers and a majority of Americans support them.

Democrats could scrap the filibuster rules and return the Senate to its majority-rule transitions, but a handful of Senate Dems are refusing, which severely limits governing options.

There is one key tactic, however, that offers the majority a way to work around the filibuster: it’s called the budget reconciliation process, which is what Schumer mentioned as part of his answer to Rachel.

Reconciliation is complicated and it can’t be used to pass any kind of legislation. On the contrary, it can only be used on budget bills related to spending and taxes. In the Trump era, Republicans relied on this tactic, for example, to pass tax breaks for the wealthy, and unsuccessfully tried to use it again to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

So what’s to stop Democrats from taking advantage of reconciliation on dozens of bills? It’s not that easy: the process has to start with a budget resolution, and Congress generally passes one budget resolution per fiscal year. That’s why, as a rule, reconciliation is seen as a once-per-year tactic.

Schumer, however, told Rachel last night that Democrats “get two reconciliation motions,” which is true. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently explained why:

[N]o fiscal year 2021 budget resolution was adopted in calendar year 2020. That would allow Congress to first take up the overdue budget resolution for fiscal year 2021, use that to generate an initial reconciliation bill, and then take up a budget resolution for fiscal year 2022 (which begins on October 1, 2021) to generate a second reconciliation bill.

It’s precisely why Democratic leaders are eyeing two bites at the apple: relying on reconciliation first to pass a COVID relief package, and then again for … something else . Schumer pointed to an infrastructure plan – referencing Biden’s Build It Back Better blueprint – but others in the party may push for a different priority. (If the Supreme Court destroys the Affordable Care Act, it’s a safe bet Democrats will turn to reconciliation to pass a health care bill, for example.)


Good news on the vaccine front - a boost in allocation by 17%.



Challenges - how unevenly the country is split between Blue and Red states vs. Population and how it impacts voting.


Biden sets the tone for US’s Foreign Policy and stunting what Trump had been doing.

The president said that he would end support for Saudi Arabia in its intervention in Yemen and that the U.S. would no longer be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions.”

President Biden on Thursday ordered an end to arms sales and other support to Saudi Arabia for a war in Yemen that he called a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe” and declared that the United States would no longer be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions.”

The announcement was the clearest signal Mr. Biden has given of his intention to reverse the way President Donald J. Trump dealt with two of the hardest issues in American foreign policy.

Mr. Trump regularly rejected calls to rein in the Saudis for the indiscriminate bombing they carried out in their intervention in the civil war in Yemen as well as for the killing of a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, on the grounds that American sales of arms to Riyadh “creates hundreds of thousands of jobs” in the United States. And he repeatedly dismissed evidence of interference by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in American elections and Russia’s role in a highly sophisticated hacking of the United States government.

Saudi leaders knew that the move was coming. Mr. Biden had promised to stop selling arms to them during the presidential campaign, and it follows the new administration’s announcement last month that it was pausing the sale of $478 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, a transfer the State Department approved in December over strong objections in Congress. The administration has also announced a review of major American arms sales to the United Arab Emirates.

President Biden on Thursday recommitted the United States to global alliances and a role in the world that projects democratic principles, using his first major foreign policy address to promise that he will counter “advancing authoritarianism” and to announce an end to U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen that are blamed for thousands of civilian deaths.

Biden also said he would increase the number of refugees admitted to the United States and freeze troop redeployments from Germany, reversing Trump administration policies that the new president sees as out of step with American values.

“We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s,” Biden said during an address at the State Department that attempted to turn the page on isolationism and restore diplomacy as the tool of choice.


The Justice Department, as soon as Tuesday, is expected to ask US attorneys appointed by former President Donald Trump to submit their resignations, a turnover expected to spare two top prosecutors in Delaware and Connecticut overseeing two sensitive Trump-era investigations, a senior Justice Department official said.

In a call Monday night, acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson asked Delaware US Attorney David Weiss to remain in office, where he is overseeing the tax probe of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son. John Durham, appointed as special counsel by former Attorney General William Barr to reinvestigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, will also continue his work, but he is expected to resign as US attorney in Connecticut, the Justice official said.

The resignation request is expected to apply to 56 Senate-confirmed US attorneys appointed by Trump.

Justice officials have scheduled a call with US attorneys around the country to discuss a transition that is expected to take weeks. The Justice official didn’t say when the resignations would take effect.


Biden may be looking to putting in some Arizona Republicans in ambassadorships - which would be plum assignments and payback for their support during the election - Cindy McCain and Jeff Flake potentially.

Biden officials are weighing nominating prominent Republicans to ambassadorships — including Cindy McCain and Jeff Flake — to highlight the importance of bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy, according to people familiar with their thoughts, Axios’ Margaret Talev and Hans Nichols report.

Why it matters : President Biden hasn’t put any Republicans in his Cabinet, but a move like this would symbolize a return to the Truman-era adage that partisan politics stops “at the water’s edge.”

  • It also would signal to other nations the Trump era is over, and Biden speaks for all Americans, not just Democrats.

What we are hearing : McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, has been discussed for the United Kingdom, while Flake, a former senator from Arizona, has been mentioned for South Africa, as well as postings in Europe.

The potential nominations of two Arizona Republicans who clashed with former President Trump and endorsed Biden also could boost Democrats, signaling a big-tent approach in a once-red state the new president won by some 10,000 votes.

  • Biden aides say it’s premature to discuss either name and that no decisions have been made about ambassadorships.

We keep learning of more heinous Trump policies as the Biden admin. cancels them.

For instance, did you know the U.S. Interior Dept. just canceled a Trump directive giving local & state officials power to block purchases of land & water for conservation?


Trump’s lawyer’s push out the argument that the Democrats are just politically motivated, and part of the ongoing ‘vengeful’ actions from the Dems.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump opened his impeachment defense Friday by strenuously denying he played any role in inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, blasting the case against him as politically motivated “hatred” and part of a yearslong Democratic “witch hunt.”

Lawyers for the former president told senators that Trump was entitled to dispute the 2020 election results and that his doing so, including in a speech that preceded the assault on the Capitol, did not amount to inciting the violence that followed. They sought to turn the tables on prosecutors by likening the Democrats’ questioning of the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 win to his challenge of his election loss. When Trump implored supporters to “fight like hell” on Jan. 6, they said, that was no different from the Democrats’ own charged rhetoric that risks precipitating violence.

“This is ordinarily political rhetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from the language that has been used by people across the political spectrum for hundreds of years,” said Michael van der Veen, one of Trump’s lawyers. “Countless politicians have spoken of fighting for our principles.”

After a prosecution case rooted in emotive, violent images from the Capitol siege, the impeachment trial shifted to defense lawyers who made a fundamental concession: The violence was every bit as traumatic, unacceptable and illegal as Democrats say — but Trump did not order it. Van der Veen said the siege was carried out by people who had “hijacked” for their own purposes what was supposed to be a peaceful event and had made plans for violence before Trump had even spoken.

Acknowledging the horrors of the January day is meant to blunt the visceral impact of the House Democrats’ case and quickly pivot to what Trump’s defenders see as the core — and more winnable — issue of the trial: Whether Trump can be held responsible for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot.

The argument is likely to appeal to Republican senators who want to be seen as condemning the violence but without convicting the president.

“They haven’t in any way tied it to Trump,” David Schoen, one of the president’s lawyers, told reporters near the end of two full days of Democrats’ arguments aimed at doing just that.

He previewed the essence of his argument Tuesday, telling the Senate jurors: “They don’t need to show you movies to show you that the riot happened here. We will stipulate that it happened, and you know all about it.”

In both legal filings and in arguments this week, Trump’s lawyers have made clear their position that the people responsible for the riot are the ones who actually stormed the building and who are now being prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Anticipating defense efforts to disentangle Trump’s rhetoric from the rioters’ actions, the impeachment managers spent days trying to fuse them together through a reconstruction of never-been-seen video footage alongside clips of the president’s monthslong urging of his supporters to undo the election results.


Peeling back these Executive orders.

Executive Order on the Revocation of Certain Presidential Actions

February 24, 2021 • Presidential Actions

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Revocation of Presidential Actions. The following Presidential actions are revoked: Executive Order 13772 of February 3, 2017 (Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System), Executive Order 13828 of April 10, 2018 (Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility), Memorandum of January 29, 2020 (Delegation of Certain Authority Under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute), Executive Order 13924 of May 19, 2020 (Regulatory Relief To Support Economic Recovery), Memorandum of September 2, 2020 (Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients of Federal Funds That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities), Executive Order 13967 of December 18, 2020 (Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture), and Executive Order 13979 of January 18, 2021 (Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking).
Sec. 2. Implementation. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the heads of executive departments and agencies shall promptly consider taking steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, or portions thereof, implementing or enforcing the Presidential actions identified in section 1 of this order, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq. In addition, any personnel positions, committees, task forces, or other entities established pursuant to the Presidential actions identified in section 1 of this order shall be abolished, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.
Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
© This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


February 24, 2021.


President Biden plans to call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday, ahead of the public release of a potentially damning intelligence report about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source briefed on the call told Axios.

Why it matters : The call, if it happens as scheduled, will be Biden’s first conversation as president with the Saudi king. While they are likely to discuss a range of issues, the conversation will be colored by the imminent release of the explosive report expected to involve one of the monarch’s sons.

  • The report, an unclassified document produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for expected release on Thursday, implies Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
  • Bin Salman has denied involvement but accepted responsibility as the kingdom’s de facto leader.

Biden is moving to recalibrate the Saudi relationship after the Trump administration made Riyadh’s preferences in the Persian Gulf a priority for U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. both withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and failed to take action for the murder of Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist.

  • During the 2020 campaign, Biden accused the crown prince of ordering the murder, stressed he wouldn’t sell weapons to the Saudis and promised to “make them the pariah that they are.”
  • The Saudi government has recently been sending signals that it’s ready to cooperate on the civil war in Yemen and make improvements on human rights in an effort to avoid a crisis with the new administration, Axios’ Barak Ravid has reported.

The intrigue : Biden will be speaking with the 85-year-old king, who technically is the head of government, instead of his son, known as MBS, the nation’s heir apparent.

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki previewed the differentiation last week when she said: “The president’s counterpart is King Salman.”
  • “I expect that, in appropriate time, [Biden] would have a conversation with him," referring to King Salman.
  • A spokesperson for the National Security Council would not confirm Biden’s scheduled call Wednesday. The State Department referred an inquiry about the call to the White House.
  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with MBS, who is also the country’s defense minister, last week.

The big picture : Avril Haines, the nation’s top intelligence official, pledged during her Senate confirmation hearing that the Biden administration would release the intelligence report.

  • “Yes, senator. Actually, we’ll follow the law,” she replied to a question about the report’s release.