Biden’s Virus Plans Meet Reality

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Fauci returns unmuzzled, while the Senate is stuck in slow motion. It’s Friday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Biden signed executive orders on his administration’s coronavirus response yesterday as Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Fauci looked on.


Imagine, if you will, a president who lowers taxes on the wealthy, presides over a surging stock market and loosens regulation on businesses of all kinds — yet who is so enthralled by his ability to sow conflict that he alienates even the nation’s top business leaders. That about describes Donald Trump, who by the end of his tumultuous presidency had lost the support of such typical Republican stalwarts as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But does the business world’s exhaustion with Trump mean it will eagerly welcome Biden’s wide-ranging proposals, which include raising taxes on high-income Americans and tightening various regulations?

To the extent that Biden will enjoy any kind of honeymoon period, he’s in it right now. And business leaders’ response to his earliest executive actions has largely been positive. He drew praise from figures like Bill Gates and Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Alphabet, for pledging to rejoin the Paris climate accord, shielding “Dreamers” from deportation, and stepping up Covid relief.

But as our reporter David Gelles writes in a new article, there have already been stirrings of business opposition, particularly around his order to stop construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. In a statement, the Chamber of Commerce called the move “politically motivated” and said it would “put thousands of Americans in the building trades out of work.”

The biggest fights are expected to come up as Biden shepherds legislation through Congress, particularly around environmental regulations and corporate taxation. But some political and business observers say they may be willing to accept a little more taxation in exchange for less volatility.

“The markets are relieved to be on the other side of all the tumult and uncertainty that was Donald Trump,” Brad Karp, chairman of the law firm Paul, Weiss, told David. “You woke up in the morning and saw the president imposing tariffs, or closing borders, or retaliating against a company. Business needs predictability and certainty.”

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