MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden’s priorities this week essentially come down to COVID-19, climate, and confirmations.
Climate change is obviously a key issue in Miami — with many calling south Florida the epicenter of sea-level rise. But Biden’s plans when it comes to climate change and COVID-19 come with pushback from Republicans.
Priority number one for President Biden’s first full week in office is the coronavirus pandemic, according to the White House. A goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days — and turning around what has been a very slow vaccine rollout across the country.
“The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside nursing homes and hospitals, into the community as a whole did not really exist when we came into the white house,” said White Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
COVID-19 stimulus talks are also ongoing.
The White House had a call with sixteen senators over the weekend — eight Democrats and eight Republicans. They would not say who was on the call but said the goals of their $1.9 trillion plan include another payment of 1,400 dollars directly to Americans.
“We want it to be a bipartisan effort. You guys know Joe Biden. President Biden his entire life in his career has worked with the other side. And when it comes to getting big things done he has always worked with Republicans to get things done,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
But some Republicans say Democrats are slowing down the process by putting non-coronavirus related items like raising the minimum wage into the bill.
“If you are going to talk about an emergency operation, why would you then include and demand that be a part of it,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). “I think that is just looking for a way not to get some things done that might very well have to be done in the next couple of weeks.”
The issue of climate change is also on this week’s agenda.
President Biden’s special climate envoy John Kerry spoke at the U.S. conference of mayors Saturday.
“The new energy economy that we have to create all over the world is not a choice of having a good job now and not in the future,” said Kerry. “It is not a choice of comforts disappearing and either have the environment or the economy. All of you understand that. It is the economy. It is the future.”
But some Republicans say re-entering the Paris Agreement will compromise America’s energy independence.
“The cost to our country, to our economy, to jobs and to regions like west Texas would be tremendous,” said Texas Congressman Jodey Arrington.
Also this week, hearings continue for Biden’s cabinet nominees — like Janet Yellen for treasury secretary, Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary and Alejandro Mayorkas as homeland security secretary.
Only two cabinet nominees have been confirmed so far: General Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense and Avril Haines as national intelligence director.
The cabinet confirmations are taking longer than they have in the past with other presidents — and an impeachment trial in the Senate could only further delay things.