Despite the shenanigans that Trump’s inept crew is trying to pull, Joe Biden will become President, and Kamala Harris will become Vice President, at noon on January 20. And while the media has been covering Trump’s meltdown, Biden’s team is doing the work needed to be ready to get to work on Day 1. Today, let’s take a look at what we’ve been learning about the incoming administration.
The timeline to inauguration
First, states have to certify their election results. Here are the certification dates in the states that are in the center of the current drama:
Georgia – Nov. 20 (today!)
Michigan – Nov. 23
Pennsylvania – Nov. 23
North Carolina – Nov. 24
Arizona – Nov. 30
Nevada – Dec. 1
Wisconsin – Dec. 1
Then, the next crucial dates are these:
Dec. 8 – The deadline by when all states need to have resolved any election issues
Dec. 14 – Electors cast their votes. The “certificates of votes” are sent to various officials in Washington, D.C.
Jan. 6 – The House and the Senate hold a joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes. When one ticket gets to 270 votes, none other than Vice President Mike Pence announces the results. (For a detailed rundown of what the joint session might look like, read this great AP article.)
Jan. 20 – Joe Biden is inaugurated
The incoming administration
One of the first decisions we learned out of the gate was that Biden had named Ronald Klain as his Chief of Staff, one of the most crucial positions in the White House. He had previously served as Chief of Staff for VP Al Gore, and Biden when he was VP. Biden also named his fantastic campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, as deputy Chief of Staff.
NPR has a great article that you’ll want to bookmark: Biden Administration: Here’s Who Has Been Named So Far. They’ve listed all the crucial White House positions (and what they do), the Cabinet positions, which ones need Senate confirmation, and they’re updating the article each time announcements are made.
Biden recognizes that if the Republicans retain control of the Senate, getting his Cabinet positions confirmed is going to be a bear. He’s already assembled a team to tackle confirmations and has asked Jen Psaki, President Obama’s White House communications director, to lead it.
A few names have started to float out there for potential Cabinet picks. “One near-certainty about Joe Biden’s Cabinet: Pete Buttigieg will be in it. Biden officials have made clear to donors and party officials the question surrounding Buttigieg is not if, but where, he lands.” (Source)
Some really good news: “President-elect Joe Biden’s return to ‘normalcy’ will include restoring the daily press briefing — and at least two women are under consideration to lead the new post-Trump show.” (Source – plus some speculation as to who might step into the role.)
Tackling the virus: “President-elect Joe Biden’s scientific advisers plan to meet with vaccine makers in coming days even as a stalled presidential transition keeps them out of the loop on government plans to inoculate all Americans against COVID-19.” (Source) Also, the transition team tweeted, “The Biden-Harris administration will act swiftly and aggressively to help protect and support the frontline health care workers helping us face this pandemic.”
Climate change: The Washington Post reported that “Biden is poised to embed action on climate change across the breadth of the federal government” in a “far-reaching strategy is aimed at making significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions even without congressional action, by maximizing executive authority.”
In the days and weeks to come, we’ll learn a lot more about the Biden-Harris administration. Which starts on January 20th. Oh, what a glorious day that’ll be.
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