So it happened: Barack Obama has officially taken his place as the country’s 44th President (complete with a shout-out to science during the inaugural address!). And, with the country facing enough massive problems to sink a fleet of aircraft carriers, the word is he’ll waste no time getting to work. But what can a new president accomplish in his first few days in office? Plenty, if you count issuing executive orders that reverse policies from the previous administration (which should by all means be counted). And when it comes to science and medicine, there are miles to go before the new POTUS sleeps.
So what are some top science priorities that President Obama can stick on his “ASAP” list? Here’s a few ideas, along with the likelihood that they’ll be addressed in the super/semi/not-so-near future:
Abortion: The most likely candidate on the list. CNN reports that the new president may repeal a 2001 Bush policy that prevents federal money from going to international family planning groups that perform abortions as early as today or tomorrow.
Stem Cells: Lifting the ban on federally-funded stem cell research is another move that’s likely to happen quickly.
Energy/Environment: So, uh, how ’bout those emissions cuts? Chances are, they won’t come until later in the year, with alt-energy legislation taking priority. And in the meantime, halting that environmental fire sale sure would be nice.
Health care: We need action. Fast. As in, yesterday. Yes, the task is huge and the hurdles enormous. But the costs of doing nothing to reform the American health care system will be crippling in every sense of the word. So where does the Big H.C. stand on the agenda? According to the Wall Street Journal, the new administration will “move fast on [Obama's] proposal to overhaul” health care, with a “major event at the White House” likely happening sometime in March.