ChE in Context: Anticipating Policy Changes in Washington | AIChE

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ChE in Context: Anticipating Policy Changes in Washington


The ChE in Context column launched in January 2017 as a quarterly briefing on government policies that could impact chemical engineers. AIChE, through its Public Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC), has strived to consider policy at all levels of government.

Once the Biden Administration takes office, the U.S. federal government is likely to undergo substantial reversals of executive policies, much as it did in January 2017. This column considers Joe Biden’s recent victory in the 2020 presidential election and its potential effects on chemical engineers. Anticipated policy changes that are likely to have the biggest impacts on chemical engineers center on the pandemic and its economic effects, taxation, climate and the environment, diplomacy and trade, and immigration.

In November, the Democratic Party retained control of the House of Representatives by a small margin. As this issue goes to press, the balance of power in the Senate is closely divided — Republicans hold 50 seats and Democrats hold 48 seats, and the final two seats are being determined in early January by runoff elections. Both the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect are former senators, and President-Elect Biden has repeatedly said he wants his Administration to seek consensus with Republicans.

President-Elect Biden plans to submit...

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