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Biden/Harris Potential Legislative/Policy Agenda Discussions


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What I had in mind for this thread is a kind of catch-all for general discussions about legislation/policy for the Biden/Harris administration. There could then be individual threads for major legislation/policy with more intricate detail. For example EPA/Climate Control for which I think there may already be a thread. 

 

Below is the list of legislative/policy issues that come to mind - in no particular order. There are many, many more. Feel free to add them in the comments and I will add them to the OP. I will not list the goals or objectives just a short description of the item. Will leave the opinions in the comments - well for the most part. My thread so I get to add some opinion in the beginning if I want to 🙂   

 

Last but not least, as the administration addresses the issues - assuming they do, I will post status updates on the proposals here where I can find them. I may ask for help with from some of you with some pet items that are not maybe as mainstream. If nothing else it might be good to look back in four years and see what they addressed from our list. I may even create a poll once we get what we think is a fairly complete list. But not right away. 

 

Health Care Reform - We clearly need to health care reform to provide affordable healthcare to everyone that needs it. Is that rebuild the ACA? Go back to the previous system? Go for a full single payer system? 

Voter Rights/Gerrymandering - We need to implement voters laws that encourage people to exercise their right to vote and to make sure each vote counts. 

Campaign Finance - There is too much money in politics. How do we remove the overwhelming influence companies/industries/individuals get to have on our politics though buying it. 

Tax Reform - Republicans again lowered taxes to the point it increased pre-covid deficit spending above $1T/yr after Obama got it as low as $450B. Deficit spending needs to be reduced but it can't all be through spending cuts. Some type of tax reform is needed.  

Infrastructure - This country is in desperate need of a massive infrastructure bill. Each administration - both dems and reps have talked the talk but no one has yet to walk the walk in a meaningful manner. Note - this could be done with Climate Change in mind and take care of two objectives. 

EPA /Climate Change - Although and argument could be made these are to separate issues, to me this is the EPA's primary role so I have combined them. Clearly we have a climate change issue. Sorry for anyone that still thinks it's not true but sadly you are incorrect. The question is how serious is it and what do we do about it. The EPA has been ravaged by the previous administration. How to rebuild the EPA and give them the tools to help combat Climate Change? I could see a whole separate thread for this one (and I think there is one) but will list it here.  

Living Wage - Wages continue to remain stagnant in the US. While working as a cashier at McDonald's maybe should be looked at as a life career - it would pay enough to cover the basic necessities if you work a 40 hr week. Some adjustments have to be made. 

College Tuition - Many students are caught by high tuition costs, during school, after or both. Is 100% free tuition right? What about existing loans? Do those get forgiven? Whatever it is, the current system does not work for anyone. 

Legalized Marijuana - It's legal is many states already. It needs to be legal on the federal level. How is this not done already? Needs to be made legal at the very least for medicinal purposes. My dad would not be able to hardly walk without it. He is 81. 

Gun Control - This take on many different shapes and forms. Removal of guns? More laws? Fewer laws? But with all the violence we have seen in this country that can be traced back to guns one way or the other, this is certainly a hot topic. 

Dreamers - They have been brought here without a choice. They know no other life. Should there be a citizenship path or sent back? I left this off as it looks like the SCOTUS has said the current program is not changing. But with the new makeup they will likely try again. 

Abortion - With the new court this will definitely come up again. Not sure what the administration can do about it other than support the current law. But I certainly expect it to become a major issue. 

DC Statehood - This has been a long time discussion. On one hand people need representation. However, DC does not have the ability to be self sustaining since the federal government owns most property. 

 

This what I have to start. Let me know some other topics. It would be helpful to provide some short detail. I can copy paste mostly that way. 

 

 

Edited by goskins10
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At least on my wish list:  

 

DREAMers  I think there should be a legislated path to citizenship for them.  Not just some Presidential "I promise we won't prosecute you, right now" announcement.  

 

And just in case the term means different things to different people, I'll say that the folks I'm thinking of are along the lines of:  Brought to the US by parents at, say, age 10 or younger.  Have lived in the US since that time.  Have achieved adulthood n the US.  Have received high school diploma or GED.  And no crimes other than those related to their mere presence or employment.  

 

And the "F You, GOP" part of me says I want those people to be citizens in time to vote in 2022.  But that might be too greedy.  

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Good luck. The progressives will want their agenda enacted and the moderates will not want to go that far. So, Joe is going find out; he is going to have a hard time, getting anything major passed. Also, combine with the expected GOP filibuster; Joe will be busy trying get enough people to pass his agenda.

 

I would add Trade and Defense to the discussion. 

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1 minute ago, TheGreatBuzz said:

Is this a list of things you think/want to be addressed or a list of things they have said are high on their priority list?

 

I'd add gun control because that is always a hot button issue.

 

 

Neither. Just a lit of what everyone sees as important for whatever reason. Some are mine some are others. I did leave the big three off - gun control, abortion and immigration but fair enough to be complete they should be on the list. 

 

4 minutes ago, Larry said:

At least on my wish list:  

 

DREAMers  I think there should be a legislated path to citizenship for them.  Not just some Presidential "I promise we won't prosecute you, right now" announcement.  

 

And just in case the term means different things to different people, I'll say that the folks I'm thinking of are along the lines of:  Brought to the US by parents at, say, age 10 or younger.  Have lived in the US since that time.  Have achieved adulthood n the US.  Have received high school diploma or GED.  And no crimes other than those related to their mere presence or employment.  

 

And the "F You, GOP" part of me says I want those people to be citizens in time to vote in 2022.  But that might be too greedy.  

 

I will add it. 

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3 minutes ago, TheGreatBuzz said:

I'd add gun control because that is always a hot button issue.

 

I'd put that on my "political third rail that might be nice but if you go there you'll grind the whole thing to a halt" list.  

 

Which is also where I would put my desire for a "save Social Security by raising the retirement age to 70" proposal.  

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18 minutes ago, Larry said:

 

I'd put that on my "political third rail that might be nice but if you go there you'll grind the whole thing to a halt" list.  

 

Which is also where I would put my desire for a "save Social Security by raising the retirement age to 70" proposal.  

 

The Social Security thing is okay but I disagree with raising the age to 70, I instead prefer increasing the income cutoff to either much higher to no cutoff. Remember, no Social Security and Medicare contributions are levied on passive income, only wages. So all the rich people are getting a break on their responsibility to contribute while the rest of us get hosed.

 

Also, I had my stoke 3 months before my 65th birthday and doctors said I couldn't work. So I took Social Security before my 66th birthday where I would get full benefit. So I am not getting the full benefit from all my years of working. Lengthening the retirement age would guarantee that most retirees wouldn't receive their full retirement benefit if they have to retire early. 

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Opinion on Marijuana?  

1)  Put the feds in charge of interstate commerce-crime-smuggling. Make regulation within a state a state measure. (Maybe a Fed law stating that shipments traveling from legal state to legal state can pass through illegal states.)

Part of me would hope to get some Republicans on board with that idea. Something that might help the tone in DC. 

2)  Make it so that physicians prescribing it aren't putting their DEA licenses at risk. 

 

4 minutes ago, LadySkinsFan said:

 

The Social Security thing is okay but I disagree with raising the age to 70, I instead prefer increasing the income cutoff to either much higher to no cutoff. Remember, no Social Security and Medicare contributions are levied on passive income, only wages. So all the rich people are getting a break on their responsibility to contribute while the rest of us get hosed.

 

 

They also don't get that money counted towards how much they get when they retire, either. 

What you're proposing is "make them pay more, but don't give them back any more"  

Edited by Larry
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Let's not go so far down the rabbit hole with things like single payer and gun control that GOP fear mongering rhetoric looks valid.

 

Voting rights should come first. 

 

One reform I would like to see - add to financial disclosure requirements that anyone running for president must provide previous 5 years of tax returns.

 

For healthcare, personally I would like to see some variant of the Wyden-Bennett bill passed (full disclosure - Bob Bennett was my uncle) where we move from employer provided to employer funds for insurance to individuals choosing their own. I hate that people think it's a binary choice between an archaic 1940s model of policy anchored to employer or government run single payer. That said, my hope will never happen. Best shot is just tweaking the ACA and repairing the damage the GOP has done.

 

Cheeto Mussolini ruined two of Obama's best policies, and I don't know if they can be fixed. The TPP truly was the gold standard of trade deals, and withdrawing from it was a YUGE gift to China, which filled the vacuum. Would like to see us somehow re-engineer ourselves back in, but Trump has laid waste to the credibility of America's commitments. The same goes for the JCPOA (Iranian nuclear deal).

 

We will rejoin the Paris climate accord. I would like to see the US invest in green research and offer tax breaks for green purchases, but I don't want to see the federal government directly picking winners.  Give our best universities and DAARPA funds to research solutions, and let private enterprise capitalize on the results (see internet,GPS, etc.)

 

I am all for providing a path to citizenship for dreamers, not unlike Reagan's much broader amnesty program back in the day. I am probably too pro-immigration for most people, tbh.

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For college tuition, bypass the banks for student loans and have it paid back directly to the IRS as a % of income. This will keep kids from getting creamed like I was out of grad school with 30k in debt when I had to take a 19k job because the economy was in the toilet. I don't agree with free tuition because then more students will get overpriced worthless degrees in useless subjects from party schools.

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4 minutes ago, Riggo-toni said:

For college tuition, bypass the banks for student loans and have it paid back directly to the IRS as a % of income. This will keep kids from getting creamed like I was out of grad school with 30k in debt when I had to take a 19k job because the economy was in the toilet. I don't agree with free tuition because then more students will get overpriced worthless degrees in useless subjects from party schools.

 

Banks are already bypassed under the current system (for the most part, only about 8% of student debt is through private banks) and income-based repayment ****s people over since it largely covers the interest and the principle does not get paid down, so borrowers pay just interest forever.  The solution is to decrease interest rates to zero or a nominal amount to cover servicing costs.  

 

Separately and additionally, the cost of tuition has skyrocketed and several measures could be enacted to reverse that.  

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Aside from covid relief stuff and vaccination work I think the first thing Biden should do is pass a new Voting Rights Act. Do that first because it gives you the maximum amount of time to implement these changes in time for 2022.

 

it needs to include:

-all protections of the 1965 act 

-automatic voter registration 

- set a standard for early voting locations, Election Day polling locations, ballot drop boxes etc

-a more thorough review process for removing a person from voter registration rolls

- universal mail in voting to any citizen that wants it. Adds funding to states to be able to process these more efficiently 

- standardize voting machines and processes. Require a specific number of voting machines on backup for each location in the event of defects or broken machines 

-establishes a bipartisan committee to oversee election processes in each state ensuring state elections are conducted fairly 

-establishes a bipartisan commission to draw state districts. 
-Election Day as a federal holiday 

-redefined punishments for violating election integrity 

 

wish list but could also be separate from

this 
-DC and PR statehood 

-New Apportionment Act updating the number of House reps in each state based on 2020 census numbers which will also update electoral college counts of each state. 
 

 

 

1 hour ago, goskins10 said:

Legalized Marijuana - It's legal is many states already. It needs to be legal on the federal level. How is this not done already? Needs to be made legal at the very least for medicinal purposes. My dad would not be able to hardly walk without it. He is 81. 


this is just a home run for Dems and should be high on their list too. It’s easy for one, and it a popular win imo that they will have forever. Go ahead and notch this one into the history books and it will reflect well on them in 2022 and beyond. States are already doing it, the consensus in in their favor and even republicans are coming around to it. 
 

would go a long way toward helping a lot of people and also showing what Dems can do for citizens. Should also come with complete expungement of marijuana related crimes and offenses 

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So have me moved on from packing the courts,  adding Justices to the bench, making DC and PR states? Will anyone push for these things or will we take Comey Barret lying down and just move on?

 

just putting it out there, not advocating one way or the other. Even though I was gung-ho on all 3 when she got confirmed. What’s the temperature like these days? 

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6 hours ago, COWBOY-KILLA- said:

So have me moved on from packing the courts,  adding Justices to the bench, making DC and PR states? Will anyone push for these things or will we take Comey Barret lying down and just move on?

 

just putting it out there, not advocating one way or the other. Even though I was gung-ho on all 3 when she got confirmed. What’s the temperature like these days? 


gotta do it but gotta get some other things done first 

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6 hours ago, COWBOY-KILLA- said:

So have me moved on from packing the courts,  adding Justices to the bench, making DC and PR states?


I'm opposed to DC statehood. DC isn't a state, it's a city. 

I'd support considering them part of Maryland, for purposes of voting for Congress. 

PR, I could see considering a state. 

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9 hours ago, COWBOY-KILLA- said:

So have me moved on from packing the courts,  adding Justices to the bench, making DC and PR states? Will anyone push for these things or will we take Comey Barret lying down and just move on?

 

just putting it out there, not advocating one way or the other. Even though I was gung-ho on all 3 when she got confirmed. What’s the temperature like these days? 

I was torn on the court packing issue.  Saw a very good interview for a guy pushing for it and he made very compelling arguments.  Among them, looking at when and why the court size was increased in the past, along with (most importantly to me) how to make the court nonpartisan.

 

This looks like a good article on the subject

https://harvardlpr.com/2019/05/06/the-supreme-court-has-been-expanded-many-times-before-here-are-four-ways-to-do-it-today/

 

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I understand that yield on 10 year treasuries is now 1.1%?  I thought it was 0.8% just a few weeks ago. And that seems like a huge swing to this uninformed viewer. 

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1 hour ago, Larry said:

I understand that yield on 10 year treasuries is now 1.1%?  I thought it was 0.8% just a few weeks ago. And that seems like a huge swing to this uninformed viewer. 

 

It is, it was, and it seems to be because the Fed has said they're going to let inflation run a little hotter than they normally would to try to juice the economy, and bond traders therefore want more yield in case inflation picks up, with the caveat that nobody REALLY knows why the markets are moving anyway, because it's not one decision, but the aggregate of millions of individual decisions, all of which might have a number of reasons. I haven't seen anything to indicate it's an outrageously large swing, though.

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I'd just been thinking that with such ridiculous interest rates, (might as well be negative numbers), then borrowing trillions of dollars and just throwing it away was a great plan. 
 

That yeah, infrastructure is good. But heck, buy a trillion dollars worth of toilet paper for the national Emergency Stockpile, while not the best thing you could do, still might help. 
 

But if the market is going to raise the interest rate, then that simplistic reasoning might be too simplistic. 

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On Voters Rights...I'd love to hear people's take on a voter ID process. I understand that some are anti because it's believed to suppress voters, but if it's made simple to apply for and get, wouldn't it help ensure integrity? Not only that, but it also REMOVES the fraud talking point. 

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13 minutes ago, TD_washingtonredskins said:

On Voters Rights...I'd love to hear people's take on a voter ID process. I understand that some are anti because it's believed to suppress voters, but if it's made simple to apply for and get, wouldn't it help ensure integrity? Not only that, but it also REMOVES the fraud talking point. 

I would answer in two parts. 

 

First, you're not going to remove a talking point; I'm afraid such things are terribly resilient to facts and logic.  The goalposts would just be moved.

 

Second, as I understand voter ID's, the only crime these might have any chance of addressing is in person voting fraud (you already have to register to vote...this just adds a card with a picture too it).  In America, people getting killed by lightning strikes is more common than in person voting fraud...it just doesn't happen that much.  Certainly not  enough to make a difference in an election.  Seems like an awfully silly expense to burden everyone with to address something that just isn't a problem; in particular given the history of how such things have been used for voter suppression.

 

Again, just my opinion based on my very limited thought about the subject...so willing to learn/discuss if people think I'm wrong or being too cynical.

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43 minutes ago, TD_washingtonredskins said:

On Voters Rights...I'd love to hear people's take on a voter ID process. I understand that some are anti because it's believed to suppress voters, but if it's made simple to apply for and get, wouldn't it help ensure integrity? Not only that, but it also REMOVES the fraud talking point. 

 

I do agree with @Jabbyrwock's points, but I do think it could be a fruitful avenue for consideration in the broader context of updating our woefully outdated voting system overall.

 

I would be onboard with voting system reform with the following goals:

 

1. Implement a consistent voter ID law system across the country.  (The actual legislative implementation of this can be tricky due to voting laws being sole province of the states, but I think creative legislative approach using minimum standards within context of securing civil rights combined with federal financial incentives for voting system upgrade along with working in close cooperation with groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures could go a long way).

 

2. The cost of obtaining a voter ID must be free and the effort of minimal burden to the voter.  People who obtain real IDs, passports, or other government IDs are easily covered.  The concern are the people who already slip through the cracks and do not have government IDs.  The system must assign caseworkers to these individuals, who will do the legwork for them and track down every ounce of evidence to ensure those eligible for a voter ID will be easily obtain one.

 

3. Implementation of secure voter ID system must be rewarded with dramatic increase in ease of voting.  For those with voter IDs, voting should be a simple task that feels like brief errand.  I'm talking about being able to drop into any poling place in the state and getting your vote done.  Polling places being open everyday in the 30 days before the election.  Election day being a national holiday.  Drive thru voting.  No-cause absentee.  Minimum guaranteed number of polling places based on population, density, and historical wait times broken down by quarter hours.  The whole works.  Everyone who votes with a voter ID should be able to stop by a polling place, swipe the ID, vote and then get out with no wait time.  

 

4.  Existing voters without voter ID should be able to continue to vote in the manner they are currently voting under (so obtaining a voter ID would open up a host of easy access voting, but those on the registration without voter ID should still be able to vote in the traditional manner).  Once the current generation of voters are phased out, they can make voter ID mandatory.  

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