HOUSTON — The University of Houston Law Center and the Hobby School of Public Affairs have hosted a full-day virtual symposium titled “Policy Prescriptions for the Biden Administration”. In the virtual seminar, experts provided analysis on topics such as budget, tax policy and the economy, energy and environmental law policy, health and law policy, immigration, voting and redistricting, racial justice to mark the progress of President Joe Biden 100 days in the office.
The event’s centerpiece was a UH experts roundtable discussion covering a wide range of topics, moderated by Dean Leonard M. Baynes and Hobby School of Public Affairs Founding Dean Kirk P. Watson. Participants included Seth J. Chandler, Law Foundation Professor of Law; Jim Granato, Associate Dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs and a professor in political science; Richard Murray, Director of the Center for Public Policy’s Survey Research Institute and Lanier Chair in Public Policy; and Michael A. Olivas, Professor and the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law (Emeritus) and the former director of the Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance.
“The big problem facing us in healthcare in some sense isn’t healthcare, it’s money. We are in a very difficult predicament with respect to the budget. Interest rates are projected to increase. We are already paying about 10 percent of our income to amortize the debt. As we grow addicted to some of the benefits that we’ve bestowed upon ourselves because of the pandemic, the resulting deficit situation is going to make serious healthcare reform more difficult,” said Chandler weighing the big-picture issues confronting the Biden administration in healthcare.
“There’s a set of events coming from this summer to the end of December that the Biden administration and Congress are going to have to deal with. The first event is August 1, 2021. That’s when the debt ceiling will have to be re-instated. The first thing they have to deal with is if they want to suspend it again or set new limits. The end of the fiscal year is September 30, so they’re going to have to come up with some continuing resolutions and some new appropriation bills,” said Granato offering his short-term analysis of the Biden administration’s fiscal challenges
The symposium was divided into five sessions of discussion, covering various topics. The opening panel, discussing budget and tax policy, featured Granato as the moderator. The second panel covered the issue of health. Chandler moderated the discussion.
The third panel touched on national and statewide voting issues with Murray as the moderator. Olivas moderated the fourth panel that covered matters involving immigration and racial justice. Lastly, the fifth panel, focusing on energy and environment, was moderated by UH Chief Energy Officer Professor Ramanan Krishnamoorti.