After taking their oaths of office in January, newly minted President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will face a number of daunting challenges: the ongoing pandemic and economic downturn; structural racial and ethnic injustice; widening economic inequality; inadequate access to affordable health care; and climate change. And Congress, facing the prospect of divided control, is unlikely to respond with robust legislative solutions that the American people expect and deserve.
The good news is that Biden and Harris will be able to meet these challenges head on by revitalizing governance and making effective use of the federal regulatory system. Better still, they can do so in a way that delivers justice and equity for all Americans.
Using the regulatory system as a policy tool is not easy under ideal circumstances, let alone during difficult times like these. For the last four years, the Trump administration has waged all-out war on “protector agencies” like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, seeking to demolish them from the inside out. This assault comes after decades of neglect and underinvestment by previous administrations.
Biden and Harris can repair and rebuild the nation’s system of standards and safeguards. But …