Biden begins planning for his presidency

Making the resurgent coronavirus his immediate priority, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday will announce a 12-member task force to deal with the pandemic. It will be charged with developing a blueprint for containing the disease once Biden takes office in January. Biden has also promised that he will ask Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert who has clashed with President Donald Trump, to stay on in his role as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The task force announcement will kick off a busy week that will see Biden and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, moving forward with the presidential transition on a number of fronts. Ron Klain, a political tactician who also ran the Obama administration’s response to an Ebola outbreak in 2014, is widely seen as a leading choice to be Biden’s initial chief of staff. The president-elect has a host of top economic positions to fill, including Secretary of the Treasury, where Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard is seen as a top contender. Biden’s selection for the post must be approved by the U.S. Senate, which may still be in Republican hands. That could threaten the chances of progressive candidates for this and other roles, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, despite her background in financial regulation. As for Secretary of State, Susan Rice - who was among those vetted to be Biden’s running mate - is considered a top pick, as is Senator Chris Coons of Biden’s home state of Delaware. Biden’s team is also considering the possibility of naming a “climate czar” to deliver on the promises that the president-elect made during his campaign to tackle the climate change. Possibilities include longtime Biden friend and former Secretary of State John Kerry who helped negotiate the Paris climate deal that Biden wants to re-join.