Here Are All The Executive Actions Biden Signed On His First Day
As he promised, President Joe Biden spent the first day of his term walking back Donald Trump’s legacy and establishing a new order through a flurry of executive actions.
He signed 17 in total, more than half of which reversed a Trump-era policy. Here is the full list:
The “100 Days Masking Challenge”
In a 180-degree pivot from Trump’s dismissal of the most basic coronavirus safety measures, Biden is asking all Americans to commit to 100 days of mask-wearing. While Biden doesn’t have the power to mandate such a thing at the state or local level, this executive action will require masks and social distancing in all federal buildings and lands and by all federal contractors.
Stopping the withdrawal from WHO
Biden is halting the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization, which Trump was in the middle of doing. The former president had announced those plans in May, baselessly accusing WHO of inadequately responding to the coronavirus because China has “total control” over the organization.
Centralizing COVID-19 roles
Biden is creating an official COVID-19 response coordinator, who will report to the president on vaccines, testing and other responses to the pandemic. The president has appointed Jeff Zients, who was overseeing the presidential transition team’s coronavirus plans, for the role. Biden is also reestablishing an Obama-era position called the directorate for global health security and biodefense, which was first created in the wake of the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Trump had divided the duties of that role among other positions.
Extending eviction and foreclosure moratorium
This action extends the current moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through at least March 31, ensuring protections for Americans at risk of losing their homes during the pandemic.
Extending pause on student loan payments
Similar to the eviction and foreclosure moratorium, Biden is extending the existing pause on student loan payments through at least Sept. 30.
Rejoining the Paris climate accord
Making good on one of his biggest campaign promises, Biden is reentering the U.S. into the 2016 Paris Agreement, which the climate-change-denying Trump pulled the country out of in 2017. The U.S. will become a formal party to the global negotiations in about a month, once again joining virtually every other country on the planet in the commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit
Biden is pulling permits from the Keystone XL pipeline, a highly controversial oil pipeline system rejected by former President Barack Obama but brought back to life by Trump. By pulling the permits on the 1,200-mile fossil fuel infrastructure project, Biden is effectively killing the plans.
Rescinding the 1776 Commission
Biden is pulling the plug on Trump’s 1776 Commission, a highly controversial panel he established last fall in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the U.S. The commission purported to promote a “patriotic education” but was widely panned by historians as presenting a pseudo-historical take on America’s racist past and erasing truths about slavery and the civil rights movement, all in the name of propping up Trump’s own agenda.
This action is also tasking the Office of Management and Budget with analyzing whether federal money is equitably distributed across communities of color.
Workplace protections for LGBTQ people
This action will ban workplace discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a sharp pivot from Trump’s administration, which had pushed the Supreme Court to rule that gay and transgender employees were not covered by Title VII.
Fortifying DACA protections
Biden is ordering his cabinet to ensure that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy will stay put. DACA, which is intended to protect people who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation, has been one of Trump’s targets since 2017. Now, Biden is asking Congress to adopt legislation giving DACA recipients permanent legal status and a path to citizenship.
Undoing Trump’s Muslim ban
Biden has axed the so-called “Muslim ban” or “travel ban,” one of Trump’s earliest policies from January 2017 that banned foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entry into the U.S. The Supreme Court upheld a very stripped-down version of it in 2018.
Reversing Trump’s immigration enforcement rules
The Biden administration is ending Trump’s policy of prioritizing the deportation of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and strictly enforcing that through Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Biden’s team said it instead will “set civil immigration enforcement policies that best protect the American people and are in line with our values and priorities.”
Stopping border wall construction
The border wall along Mexico was one of Trump’s biggest and most expensive campaign promises, but all plans for its construction are done under Biden. He is ending the national emergency Trump declared in order to divert money to the project.
Extending protections for Liberians
Biden is extending temporary protection from deportation for Liberians under the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program until June 30, 2022. Trump had been threatening to end the program, which around 4,000 Liberians have been relying on following civil war in their country.
Requiring noncitizens in the Census
In a reversal from a policy Trump initiated last summer, Biden is requiring noncitizens to be counted in the U.S. Census, which affects how federal money is allocated across the country.
Ethics pledge for executive branch employees
Executive branch employees under Biden will be required to sign an ethics pledge and vow to “to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice.”
Reversing Trump’s regulatory approval process
Biden is rolling back Trump’s rules for establishing new regulations, tasking the Office of Management and Budget to improve the regulatory review process and putting a freeze on regulations until his administration has time to review any that Trump enacted during his last days in office.
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