CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to become the 46th president of the United States with Sen. Kamala Harris as the first female vice president. The Biden-Harris administration has pledged to hit the ground running on day one addressing key issues of COVID-19, climate change and racial injustice.
The Biden campaign created a website centered around the Biden-Harris transition process. The site gives a short statement about their plan of action moving forward.
“The American people have determined who will serve as the next President of the United States. The crises facing the country are severe — from a pandemic to an economic recession, climate change to racial injustice — and the transition team is preparing at full speed so that the Biden-Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One.”Biden-Harris
Biden hopes to tackle the coronavirus pandemic first. He will also have to contend with what Democrats say is the damage the Trump administration has done to what Biden dubbs as “the very soul of the nation.”
“This will be one of the most important, most difficult and yes most costly transitions in modern American history,” Chris Korge, the Democratic National Committee’s finance chair, warned donors in a recent letter obtained by The Associated Press. “There is so much work to do.”
Biden will have to name more than 4,000 political appointees to fill out his administration, including more than 1,200 requiring Senate confirmation. There are 700 key executive branch nominations that must go through Senate confirmation, 153 of which are currently vacant, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that advises presidential candidates on the transition.
Chris Lu, executive director of President Barack Obama’s 2008 transition, said there are vacancies in some of the departments that will be key to addressing the country’s standing globally and the climate crisis.
“There’s a lot of expertise that’s just gone now — in particular, when you look at places like the State Department and the gutting of the Foreign Service or, you know, in climate agencies like EPA or Interior,” he said.
Biden also drew a sharp contrast to Trump through a summer of unrest over the police killings of Black Americans including Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Their deaths sparked the largest racial protest movement since the civil rights era. Biden responded by acknowledging the racism that pervades American life, while Trump emphasized his support of police and pivoted to a “law and order” message that resonated with his largely white base.
Biden is also considering swift announcements of Cabinet picks that would be key in the coronavirus response, according to people involved in transition planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Those roles include leaders of the treasury and health and human services departments and the director of the National Economic Council. Biden is expected to look to some of his former opponents and those he vetted as his potential running mate for top Cabinet positions.
Election results became clear Saturday after Biden secured 290 electoral votes to President Donald Trump’s 214 electoral votes as of AP’s latest race call.
Nexstar Media Wire and The Associated Press contributed to this report.