Biden’s First Days in Office


By Maler Suresh

Part of President Biden’s campaign promise was a series of decisive actions targeted at the pandemic, climate change, racial inequality, and economic relief. Now that he is in office, he has signed numerous executive orders that address these issues and aim to reverse actions made by the Trump administration. Below is a list of the measures he has taken so far. 

Day One:

  1. A memorandum freezing approval of rules passed in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency- this gives them a chance to be re-reviewed by Biden’s appointed department heads 
  2. Executive order to rejoin Paris Agreement on Climate Change 
  3. Executive order for the government to conduct equity assessments of its agencies and redistribute resources to “advance equality for all”
  4. Proclamation reversing Trump’s “Muslim Travel Ban”- orders plans within 45 days to resume processing visas
  5. Executive order requiring masks and social distancing on all federal property 
  6. Executive order creating the position of a COVID-19 response coordinator- they will oversee vaccine, testing, and supply distribution
  7. Executive order that resets “the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws to align enforcement with these values and priorities.” – this reverses a policy made under the Trump administration that threatened to defund “sanctuary cities”
  8. Executive order that reverses regulatory restrictions on federal agencies “that threaten to frustrate the Federal Government’s ability to confront these problems [the pandemic]”  
  9. Executive order including undocumented immigrants into the census 
  10. Executive order revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline (a pipeline system meant to carry oil from Canada to the U.S. that cuts through Indigenous lands) and pausing oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  11. Executive order banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation
  12. Memorandum which directs the head of the Office of Budget and Management to oversee the improvement of the regulatory review process
  13. Executive order that requires all government appointees to sign an ethics pledge- this pledge prohibits them from lobbying and accepting gifts from lobbyists for two or more years after leaving office 
  14. Proclamation terminating the construction and funding of Trump’s border wall 
  15. Executive order extending the freeze of federal student loan payments
  16. Memorandum blocking the deportation of Liberian refugees living in the U.S.
  17. Memorandum reaffirming DACA

Day Two:

  1. Executive order mandating mask-wearing on all public transport
  2. Executive order directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make plans COVID-19 vaccine research and distribution in underserved communities
  3. Executive order that seeks to  “facilitate the gathering, sharing and publication of Covid-19-related data” in order to stop the spread of misinformation about the pandemic 
  4. Memorandum supporting governors’ deployment of the National Guard to help stop the spread of the coronavirus- these efforts will be fully funded by FEMA
  5. Executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to quickly increase our supplies for the pandemic response 
  6. Executive order creating the Health Equity Task Force- it will provide recommendations on where resources should be allocated to reduce disparities exposed by COVID-19
  7. Executive order for the Department of Education to develop guidance for the reopening of schools
  8. Executive order for the Department of Labor to give new guidance for employers to ensure workers’ safety
  9. Executive order creating a “pandemic testing board” which will increase efforts to test for COVID-19 

Day Three: 

  1. Executive order that allows states to increase SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and sets up the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer to give students money for food
  2. Executive order asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to consider freezing federal debt collection for veterans 
  3. Executive order that requests the Department of Labor to clarify its rules to establish that workers who refuse employment due to the pandemic still qualify for unemployment insurance
  4. Executive order establishing “benefit delivery teams” which will distribute federal aid during the pandemic 
  5. Executive order requesting the Treasury Department to take action to improve delivery of stimulus payments-this includes making online methods for claiming checks
  6. Executive order for all government departments and agencies to evaluate what actions they can take “to address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.”
  7.  Executive order that revoked regulations made by the Trump administration which reduced protections for federal employees- also requested recommendations that all federal government employees should receive a $15 minimum wage 

Day Six:

  1. Executive order repealing Trump-era transgender military ban 
  2. Proclamation reinstating COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-US citizens travelling from Brazil, Europe, and South Africa
  3. Executive order directing agencies to strengthen requirements for purchasing products from US businesses and “close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences.”

Day Seven:

  1. Executive order directing Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine the Trump administration’s actions that undermined fair housing policies and use their findings to implement the Fair Housing Act 
  2. Executive order that directs the Department of Justice not to renew contracts with private prisons- this is part of an effort to  “reduce profit-based incentives to incarcerate” 
  3. Executive order reaffirming a Clinton-era policy mandating all department and agency heads to regularly consult with tribal officials on policy matters that would affect them 
  4. Executive order urging the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on sensitivity to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in light of the surge in anti-Asian bias due to the pandemic 

Day Eight:  

  1. Executive order initiating plan to combat climate change- called for U.S. to determine emissions reduction target, directed agencies to buy American-made, zero-emission vehicles, suspended new oil and natural gas leases on public lands, established the Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and an environmental justice council 
  2. Memorandum the requires the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to review policies on scientific integrity 
  3. Executive order creating a council of advisors on science and technology for the President 

Day Nine:

  1. Executive order reinforcing Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act in order to reverse Trump’s attempts to strike down the Affordable Care Act- also made Feb 15 to May 15 a special enrollment period for Americans to get health insurance during the pandemic 
  2. Memorandum that revokes the “Mexico City Policy” (a Regan-era policy reinstated by Trump that blocks federal funding to organizations that perform abortions)- also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate whether to take back Trump-era regulations that pulled funding from women’s health clinics across the country  

Apart from these actions, President Biden has also made phone calls to world leaders. He talked to Vladimir Putin in Russia about creating a five-year extension to New START (an arms reduction treaty) by February 5th. Biden also reaffirmed the U.S.’s “firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty,” raised concerns over 2020 election interference, the poisoning of Alexey Navalny, and media reports of Russia placing bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. He also spoke to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, about re-committing to the NATO alliance and the possibility of resolving trade issues between the two countries.   

President Biden also called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.


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