Joe Biden, January 7, 2020. -
Joe Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, should immediately sign decrees, in particular to join the Paris climate agreement.
With the narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, he should tackle fundamental reforms, but he will still need elected Republicans for certain issues such as immigration.
After the attack on Capitol Hill and in the face of racial tensions, Joe Biden inherits a deeply divided country.
He promised to "restore the soul of America".
In a country more divided than ever, Joe Biden, who is sworn in on Wednesday, faces a huge challenge.
Two weeks after the Capitol attack, a third of voters are convinced that Donald Trump won the November 3 presidential election, racial tensions remain high and the vaccination program is overdue, while the Covid-19 has made more than 400,000 dead in the United States.
If the narrow Democratic majority in the Senate should allow the new American president to launch fundamental reforms, he will begin by signing several emblematic decrees as of Wednesday, in particular to join the Paris agreement on the climate.
1. Covid: Speed up vaccination and encourage the wearing of masks
100 million vaccinations in 100 days.
This is the goal set by Joe Biden, and there is work.
As of Monday, 31 million doses had been delivered but only 12 million administered, according to official figures.
Blame it on a logistical mess between the federal government and the 50 American states, and a limited number of vaccination centers.
Biden planned to mobilize the Emergency Management Agency to establish thousands of sites.
On the mask side, a decree could make it mandatory in federal locations - a symbolic measure - and the Biden administration will work with local communities to encourage the practice.
Time is running out: the United States could cross the threshold of 500,000 deaths in February.
2. Economy: Recovery plan and increase in the hourly minimum wage
Economic signals are in the red.
While the unemployment rate remains stable at 6.7%, the United States recorded nearly a million new claims for benefits last week.
And the most precarious are the hardest hit, with one in five unemployed for the bottom quartile (the lowest paid 25%).
Joe Biden unveiled a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, which includes a new check for $ 1,400 per adult and a hike in unemployment benefits.
He is also asking for a doubling of the federal hourly minimum wage, unchanged since 2009, from 7.25 to 15 dollars.
It remains to convince Congress.
The Democrats could pass in force with only 50 senators out of 100 (plus Kamala Harris), but certain measures, like the increase of the minimum wage, could require the reinforcement - very unlikely - of 10 Republicans, or the abolition of the rule on the parliamentary obstruction (
3. Divisions: Healing America's Wounds
Attack on the Capitol, death of George Floyd, inequalities in the face of the coronavirus ... Joe Biden inherits, as we have said, a country more divided than ever.
He has promised to make racial equity his priority and will begin by canceling by decree the "travel ban" imposed by the Trump administration against half a dozen predominantly Muslim countries.
Joe Biden also assured that he would do everything to reunite the children of migrants separated from their parents.
The Democrat will need Congress for fundamental reforms of the judicial-prison system or for a progressive regularization of the 11 million undocumented migrants.
But he has already asked his future Justice Department to tackle the "cancer" of white supremacy and the threat of domestic terrorism.
Merrick Garland, who should be confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General, has the experience: he had overseen the investigation into the Oklahoma city bombing, carried out in 1995.
4. Climate: Return to the Paris Agreement
According to Joe Biden, climate change poses "an existential threat" to humanity.
As of Wednesday, he planned to sign a decree to join the Paris agreement.
It should also order a halt to construction of the maligned Keystone XL pipeline between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
But to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, decrees will not be enough.
5. Geopolitics: Iran, the most urgent issue
By appointing Anthony Blinken secretary of state, Joe Biden wants to put the United States back in the hearts of international alliances.
First priority: Iranian nuclear power.
If Tehran "returns to strict compliance with the  agreement, the United States will join it," Biden assured in September.
With repeated violations in recent months, time is running out: according to Jean-Yves Le Drian, “Iran is in the process of acquiring nuclear capacity”.
The Biden administration will also have to deal with provocations from North Korea and with undermined diplomacy with China and Russia.
The next G7 summit, from June 11 to 13 in England, promises to be busy.
United States: Joe Biden intends to reinstate the Paris climate agreement on Wednesday
Nuclear: For Jean-Yves Le Drian, we must "tell Iran that this is enough"
Iranian nuclear program