SAN ANTONIO – President-elect Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office will begin in “unchartered territory,” said Jon Taylor, Ph.D., chair of the UTSA department of political science and geography.
“A new president who is basically having to deal with the aftermath of the previous president, a Senate that’s dealing with a now former president and the aftermath of his administration and an impeachment that was based on a storming of the U.S. Capitol. There’s nothing like this,” Taylor said.
President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate is expected to begin after Biden is inaugurated.
But, Taylor said, the trial could be put off a week or two in order to give the new president “more breathing room” to have his Cabinet nominees confirmed and introduce his agenda.
“Get that legislation going that you need to get going, get those appointees in place that you have to have, and then move forward if you want, with an impeachment trial,” Taylor said.
Biden, who had a long tenure in the Senate, has suggested the Senate conduct the people’s business in the mornings and the trial in the afternoons.
Taylor said that’s how it was done during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
He also said that so far, President Trump has not signaled he’ll have much of a defense during his trial.
“If there’s not much of a defense, it’s not going to be a very, very long trial, I would guess,” Taylor said. “It’s simply going to be a case of an up or down vote in the end.”
However, Taylor said he doesn’t expect to see much bipartisanship, except by a select few Republicans.
Taylor said the rancor others feel, who never thought the President should have been impeached, much less be convicted, could affect how they vote.
Taylor pointed out Democrats have a very narrow majority in the House, and a 50-50 split in the Senate, that could limit Biden’s agenda.
“Combine that with a relatively united Republican opposition, and we will likely see a lot of rancor going forward,” Taylor said.
The initial test could be the reception that Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief package will have in Congress.