After just 24 hours in office, President Joseph R. Biden has signed off on an extensive list of actions to kick start his presidency. With an agenda comprised of concrete plans made prior to his inauguration, Biden’s proceedings reflect his sense of urgency. 17 executive orders demonstrate the determination that the president, along with his administration, have to overturn many of former President Donald J. Trump’s orders and decisions.
Each of the orders addresses critical issues that directly impact the lives of the American people, such as COVID-19, immigration and climate change. Through his inaugural message of unity and hope in a period of conflict and dissent, these decrees exhibit his goals.
Below are the executive orders and what they entail for the future of the U.S.:
Some of the most prevalent issues facing the Biden administration’s early days revolve around the condition of the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The president set a goal of a “100 day mask challenge” for the country, requiring mask mandates on all federal property, including post offices, although he continues to urge states and cities to pass their own mandates as well. In addition to proposing this mask challenge, Biden created a COVID-19 Response Coordinator position and appointed Jeffrey D. Zients. This role entails organizing all elements of the U.S.’s response to COVID-19 and assisting Biden in making overall decisions regarding the pandemic. Biden also signed an executive order to rejoin the World Health Organization, an action that directly overturns an action of the Trump administration. This symbolically shows the passion that the new president has for recovering our country, which has experienced over 400,000 COVID-19 deaths.
The pandemic has caused many economic issues to take, negatively impacting the stock market and overall health of the nation’s economy. In order to provide security to those who feel financial pressure brought on by the pandemic, Biden signed two executive orders. One of these orders extended the halt on evictions and foreclosures until at least Mar. 30, 2021, while the other extended the postponement on repaying student loans until at least Sep. 30, 2021. This provides individuals struggling economically with more support and insurance, which protects them from losing their homes.
Another executive order that directly reversed a Trump action is the rejoining of the Paris Climate Accord. This agreement bound countries to the common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of decreasing the world’s temperature by 2 degrees Celsius, or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. According to The United Nations, the planet has about a decade until the effects of climate change become irreversible. By rejoining this agreement, the U.S. continues to make large strides to protect the future . Furthermore, Biden signed an order cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would eventually pump oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The effects of this pipeline would have potentially caused immense damage to the health of the Earth. However, Biden has received some criticism for this because of its effects on jobs, which have already been struggling under the COVID-19 economy.
Biden repelaed the strict enforcement of immigration as well as the so-called “Muslim travel ban,” which placed a restriction on traveling from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania. To further overturn laws and actions that began during the last presidency, Biden fully secured Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and terminated the emergency declaration made by Trump that funded the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Regarding safety for immigrants and refugees, Liberians have a safe haven in the U.S. until June 30, 2022, according to an order signed on Jan. 21. The final executive decision made in relation to immigration was the inclusion of non-citizens in the national census and apportionment of representatives in Congress, which will better reflect the needs of certain areas with fewer American citizens.
The past four years truly shone a light on inequality within the U.S., a country which prides itself on guaranteed liberty and freedom for each of its citizens. The Trump administration created the 1776 commission, which countered the 1619 project that dealt with education about slavery and anti-Black racism, but on Jan. 20, Biden rescinded this act. To improve racial equity within the country, along with balancing other prejudices, Biden signed an executive order that requires executive appointees to sign a mandatory ethics pledge. While discrimination against people of color was an issue throughout the last presidency, discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community grew immensely, too. To target this, Biden passed an order addressing workplace bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This provides a safety blanket for those who want to express themselves freely, even in a typically unsafe environment. The ultimate executive order regarding equity targets the issue from the root: a modernization of regulatory review. The decision’s aim is to prevent false information from spreading and indoctrinating listeners with untrue ideas.