>A drive-through testing site in Somerton, Ariz. The incoming administration has promised to vaccinate 100 million Americans for the coronavirus within its first 100 days.Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York
>Like Mr. Obama — and notably unlike Mr. Trump — Mr. Biden watches little television news other than perhaps catching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC while on the treadmill or the Sunday talk shows. Aides recall few times he came to them with something he picked up from television.
>Mr. Biden will be the first true creature of Capitol Hill to occupy the White House since President Gerald R. Ford in the 1970s. More than recent predecessors, he understands how other politicians think and what drives them. But his confidence that he can make deals with Republicans is born of an era when bipartisan cooperation was valued rather than scorned and he may find that today’s Washington has become so tribal that the old ways no longer apply.
>“Joe Biden is somebody who understands how politicians work and how important political sensitivities are on each side, which is drastically different than President Obama,” said former Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who as the House Republican leader negotiated with Mr. Biden and came to like him.
>“I would think there may be a time when Washington could get something done,” said Mr. Cantor, who lost a Republican primary in 2014 in part because he was seen as too willing to work with Mr. Biden. “At this point, I don’t know, the extreme elements on both sides are so strong right now, it’s going to be difficult.”
>Mr. Biden’s determination to ask Congress for a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws underscores the difficulties. In his proposed legislation, which he plans to unveil on Wednesday, he will call for a path to citizenship for about 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, including those with temporary status and the so-called Dreamers, who have lived in the country since they were young children.
>The bill will include increased foreign aid to ravaged Central American economies, provide safe opportunities for immigration for those fleeing violence, and increase prosecutions of those trafficking drugs and human smugglers.
>But unlike previous presidents, Mr. Biden will not try to win support from Republicans by acknowledging the need for extensive new investments in border security in exchange for his proposals, according to a person familiar with the legislation. That could make his plan far harder to pass in Congress, where Democrats will control both houses but by a slim margin.
>All of which explains why Mr. Biden and his team have resolved to use executive power as much as possible at the onset of the administration even as he tests the waters of a new Congress.
>In his memo to Mr. Biden’s senior staff on Saturday, Mr. Klain underscored the urgency of the overlapping crises and the need for the new president to act quickly to “reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration.”
>While other presidents issued executive actions right after taking office, Mr. Biden plans to enact a dozen on Inauguration Day alone, including the travel ban reversal, the mask mandate and the return to the Paris accord.
>As with many of Mr. Trump’s own executive actions, some of them may sound more meaningful than they really are. By imposing a mask mandate on interstate planes, trains and buses, for instance, Mr. Biden is essentially codifying existing practice while encouraging rather than trying to require broader use of masks.
>On the other side, Mr. Biden risks being criticized for doing what Democrats accused Mr. Trump of doing in terms of abusing the power of his office through an expansive interpretation of his executive power. Sensitive to that argument, Mr. Klain argued in his memo that Mr. Biden will remain within the bounds of law.
>“While the policy objectives in these executive actions are bold, I want to be clear: The legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the president,” Mr. Klain wrote to his staff.
>On Mr. Biden’s second day in office, he will sign executive actions related to the coronavirus pandemic aimed at helping schools and businesses to reopen safely, expand testing, protect workers and clarify public health standards.
>On his third day, he will direct his cabinet agencies to “take immediate action to deliver economic relief to working families,” Mr. Klain wrote in the memo.
>The subsequent seven days will include more executive actions and directives to his cabinet to expand “Buy America” provisions, “support communities of color and other underserved communities,” address climate change and start an effort to reunite families separated at the border.
>Mr. Klain did not provide details about the executive actions, leaving unclear whether they will be merely statements of intent, like many of Mr. Trump’s executive actions. And he conceded that much of the agenda developed by Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris would require action by Congress.
>Congress has been largely gridlocked for years, and even with Democrats controlling both the House and the Senate, Mr. Biden faces an uphill climb after this initial burst of executive actions. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, a former Senate Democratic leader who worked with Mr. Biden for years, said the incoming president had an acute sense of the challenges he faced and the trade-offs required.
>As leader, Mr. Daschle recalled that when things went wrong for him and he would complain, Mr. Biden would joke, “I hope that’s worth the car,” referring to the chauffeured ride provided the Senate leader. Now, Mr. Daschle said as Mr. Biden prepares to move into the Executive Mansion, “I’m almost inclined to say, well, whatever he’s facing now, I hope that’s worth the house.”