WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both D-Md., expect to see immediate actions and dramatic changes that will impact Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay if media projections hold and Joe Biden takes over the U.S. presidency.
The Maryland Democrats are backers of Biden’s campaign against President Donald Trump, who has not conceded the 2020 election.
Cardin and Van Hollen expect a Biden administration to bring:
• a greater federal role related to the Chesapeake Bay
• new protections for undocumented immigrants working and living in the state and the Eastern Shore
• changes in the federal tax code after cuts were passed by President Donald Trump in 2017
• increased spending on infrastructure and in cities dealing with violent crime.
“This new administration will bring many new opportunities for the state of Maryland,” Van Hollen said on Monday, Nov. 9., during a conference call with Cardin.
The Maryland Democrats expect Biden to increase federal involvement related to the Chesapeake Bay. Cardin said Trump was “hostile” toward federal involvement with the Bay. He expects that to change under Biden, who is from Delaware and had the backing of environmental groups.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker welcomed projections of a Biden win by media outlets on Saturday, Nov. 7. He also faulted Trump’s environmental stances which focus more on economic growth, property rights and states rights.
“In my 40 years working to save the Bay, I have never witnessed more setbacks to our nation’s fundamental environmental protections than what we have seen in the last four years,” Baker said of Trump. “We are counting on the Biden administration to reverse the damage and make saving this national treasure a priority once again.”
Cardin also hopes to see more immediate federal investments in Baltimore and other cities struggling with violent crime as well as more infrastructure investments across the state under a presumed Biden White House. Cambridge, on the Eastern Shore, has also seen a spate of violent crime in recent months.
Van Hollen expects immediate actions from Biden to protect undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs as well as for immigrants working the U.S. from Central America and other countries under the Temporary Protected Status program.
Trump has sought to scale back or eliminate both DACA and TPS. The latter involves a number of immigrants workers in jobs on the Shore in the agriculture, seafood, health care and tourism industries.
There are an estimate 8,100 immigrants in the DACA program in Maryland, according to the progressive Center for American Progress. DACA was created by the Obama administration in 2012 to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
“They will secure DACA (and) TPS. We should expect to see dramatic change early on,” Van Hollen said.
A number of conservatives argued Biden would favor “amnesty” for more undocumented immigrants and that will hurt American workers.
Trump disputes the 2020 election results, is launching legal challenges to the vote counts in key battlegrounds. His most ardent supporters — including U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st — are urging him not to concede.
Van Hollen said Biden would bring the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the climate change accord in 2017 and started to yank funding from the WHO this year. Trump faulted the WHO’s ties to China and its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cardin said Biden will look to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act which Trump has sought to dismantle. The ACA faces another U.S. Supreme Court challenge with a more conservative court with the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett — Trump’s third nominee.
“We’ll have a president who will build on the Affordable Care Act and build on the progress we have made,” Cardin said.
Trump and Republicans argued that Biden would seek to roll back tax cuts passed in 2017 and that would raise taxes on small businesses and others.
Cardin countered on Monday that the federal tax code needs to be overhauled, including for small businesses.
“We really do need to evaluate our tax code. The 2017 tax code was a disaster,” he said, arguing small businesses didn’t benefit from the Trump tax cuts.
Business groups, such as the National Federation of Independent Business, and low-tax advocates such as the Tax Foundation, also argue Biden’s tax plans will raise levies on small businesses.