President-elect Joe Biden will likely have an easier time ushering through $2,000 pandemic checks, a public healthcare option, and other legislative must-haves now that both Georgia Senate contests are settled in the Democrats’ favor, Northeastern professors say. But he still faces headwinds from Republicans and even from within his own party that could temper his ambitions, they add.
The margins of victory for both Democrats was large enough to avoid a days-long recount that would have slowed certification and with it Biden’s ability to get his personnel installed quickly. Many of his picks require congressional approval.
Biden, who ran as a moderate, will probably try to initially pass legislation on COVID-19 relief and infrastructure, which have bipartisan support, predicts Dan Urman, who teaches constitutional law, law and public policy, and the modern U.S. Supreme Court at Northeastern.
For climate change, it’s hard to see what Biden and fellow Democrats can do legislatively with their slim majority, Urman says, since the Senate’s filibuster rule requires 60 votes to pass legislation. “They can’t just pass whatever they want as long as the filibuster remains in place,” Urman says.
It is more likely that Biden will use executive actions related to the climate, immigration, and criminal justice reform, Urman says.