Just less than two months before his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden offers a better insight into the top priorities of his new administration.
He recently discussed a wide range of political initiatives in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, focusing on international relations and the revitalized domestic infrastructure. In response to inquiries about his plans for doing business with China – a subject that is attracting considerable public interest right now, given the tariffs imposed under Donald Trump earlier this year – Biden said he intended to strengthen U.S. industry and the education system in its efforts to better address global trade issues.
“I want to make sure we fight like hell by investing in America first,” he said in comments to the Times, citing artificial intelligence, biotechnology and energy as examples of industries that could benefit from federal research and development funding. Biden told the newspaper that he would not sign “a new trade agreement with anyone” until he had invested “here at home” in industrial and educational policy.
Biden also confirmed his intentions to reach out to Americans in the countryside when he takes office next year. Exit polling data confirmed Biden’s support among voters in U.S. cities and the suburbs of major cities, although Trump, as in 2016, secured a large share of the rural vote.
“You know, it’s really a question of dignity, how people are treated,” Biden told The Times of Americans, who live in rural parts of the country. He added: “I think they just feel forgotten. I think we have forgotten them.”
Biden said he wanted to win the trust and support of rural people by identifying and meeting their needs. His approach includes measures to improve the country’s response to COVID-19 in all regions, whether they are predominantly republican or democratic. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris considered the pandemic as one of the most pressing issues affecting the country throughout their election campaign and continued to do so after their anticipated election victory.
In his recent interview with the Times, Biden pointed to the need for expanded public health initiatives in rural areas of the U.S. and said leaders must “end the crisis in rural health care immediately,” through accessible health care options and increased funding for medical centers. He advocated broader broadband access, highlighting in particular the ways it could improve telemedicine practices in rural areas, and reaffirmed his intention to strengthen the Affordable Health Care Act with a “public option” and “automatically register people who are eligible for Medicaid.
“There is strong support for this,” he said, referring to public support in more rural U.S. states such as North Carolina and Texas, even though the states themselves are against ACA expansion. “We can boost funding,” Biden continued. “I visited 15 rural hospitals. And the biggest problem is that there is not enough reimbursement to keep them open”.
Washington Newsday turned to the Biden-Harris transition team for further comments but did not receive a response in time for publication.