Elections 2020

Transition Latest: Biden Meets With Workers, Small Biz Owners

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Although the federal General Services Administration has recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, President Donald Trump is challenging the results in multiple battleground states.

Meanwhile, the president-elect has received his first classified briefing and continued to roll out his picks for the top positions in his administration, formally introducing his selections for his senior economic team on Tuesday.

Here are the latest developments on the transition:

Biden Meets With Struggling Workers, Small Business Owners

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday used a virtual roundtable with workers and small-business owners struggling economically due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic to offer another full-throated call for more Covid stimulus, NBC News reported.

During the frequently emotional event, Biden repeatedly comforted the four participants — a school crossing guard from Chicago, a stadium worker in Detroit, a restaurant owner in Milwaukee and stagehand in Atlanta — and promised he was advocating for the current Congress to pass a spending package and would push for another after he is sworn in next month.

Arizona's Kelly Sworn Into Senate, Narrowing GOP Edge

Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly has been sworn into the Senate. Kelly defeated Republican Sen. Martha McSally in last month's election.

By taking office, Kelly has narrowed GOP control of the Senate to a 52-48 advantage. That won't do much to weaken Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's control of the chamber.

But it does set the stage for the two runoff Senate elections in Georgia in January. If Democrats win both of those races, they will control the 50-50 chamber because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tie-breaking votes.

Biden Says He Won't Immediately Lift Trump's China Tariffs

President-elect Joe Biden says he won’t immediately lift tariffs placed by President Donald Trump on many imports from China or break Trump’s initial trade deal.

Biden says he wants to maximize his leverage in future talks with the United States' geopolitical rival.

Speaking to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Biden said, “I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs.” Biden adds in Friedman's column published Wednesday: “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”

Under Trump, the U.S. and China engaged in a yearlong trade war that has been largely frozen since a Phase One deal was reached in January. While some industries have benefited from Trump’s protectionist policies, the policies have been largely panned by the business community and most experts — and most of the cost of tariffs has been borne by American businesses and consumers.

Biden tells Friedman an early priority after his January swearing-in will be to restore relationships with allies to strengthen his negotiating position with China. Biden says key to talks with China is “leverage” and in his view "we don’t have it yet.”

GOP Objects to Biden Nominees, a Sign of What's to Come

President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks are quickly running into the political reality of a narrowly controlled Senate that will leave the new Democratic administration dependent on rival Republicans to get anything done.

Under leader Mitch McConnell, the Republican senators will hold great sway in confirming Biden’s nominees regardless of which party holds the majority after runoff elections in January. Biden will have little room to maneuver and few votes to spare.

As Biden rolled out his economic team Tuesday — after introducing his national security team last week — he asked the Senate to give his nominees prompt review, saying they “deserve and expect nothing less.”

But that seems unlikely. Republicans are swiftly signaling that they’re eager to set the terms of debate and exact a price for their votes. Biden's choice for budget chief, Neera Tanden, was instantly rejected as "radioactive." His secretary of state nominee, Antony Blinken, quickly ran into resistance from GOP senators blasting his record amid their own potential 2024 White House campaigns.

The Biden Administration: A Look at Who Has Been Nominated

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn in on Jan. 20, has started to choose people to fill top positions in his administration.

Here's a look at how the administration is coming together. Click to read more.

Source: Staff reports

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