By John Isaacs
When President-elect Biden is sworn in as President on January 20, he will probably face a reduced majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives and at best a 50-50 tie in the Senate with Vice President Harris serving as the essential tiebreaker. This split verdict by American voters has led many to question what the new President will be able to accomplish when faced by a hostile Dr. No: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In fact, as President Trump demonstrated, a President can accomplish a huge amount just by changing the tone of Washington political discourse and through presidential declarations and executive orders. Below are steps President-elect Biden can take without requiring a majority in Congress that will make a major difference in national security and domestic policy.
- Restore decency, civility and honesty in government.
- Reestablish a respect for science and scientific advice.
- Focus on controlling COVID-19 rather than pretending the virus will disappear.
- Extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia by five years.
- Reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal.
- Establish, as U.S. policy, the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal should be deterring—and, if necessary, retaliating against—a nuclear attack.
- Remove the Trump administration’s W76-2 low-yield nuclear warhead from U.S. submarines.
- Promote a diplomacy-first approach to engaging with North Korea.
- Cancel plans to develop a new, destabilizing air-launched nuclear cruise missile, the Long Range Stand Off Weapon.
- End plans to develop and deploy intermediate-range missiles previously prohibited by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
- Halt development of a new and costly ICBM and investigate extending the service of current missiles or removing them from the arsenal entirely.
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
- Reaffirm our commitment to the NATO alliance and restore mutual respect with U.S. allies.
- Reverse the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization.
- Permit transgender service members to openly serve in the military.
- Repeal the ban on almost all travel from some Muslim-majority countries.
- Follow through with efforts to rename all U.S. bases named after Confederate leaders.
- Resume diversity training in the military and with companies that do business with the government.
- Reapply restrictions on the use of landmines by the U.S. military in conflict areas.
- End support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
- Reach a fair agreement with the South Korean government for cost-sharing of U.S. security forces in Korea.