Abigail Padilla
Staff Writer

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, inheriting responsibility over many partisan issues, from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change. On Biden’s first day in office, he passed 17 executive orders in response to many of these controversial issues, a number of them reverting or halting former President Trump’s policies.

  1. President Biden appointed Jeffery D. Zients as the “official COVID-19 response coordinator” during his first day as president in an executive order. The executive order also reverses Trump’s disbandment of the “directorate for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council.”
  2. There is now a mask mandate on all federal “buildings or lands” and a mandate for all federal employees to wear a mask. President Biden is also starting a “100 days masking challenge” to encourage American citizens to wear masks and to urge local officials to implement COVID-19 safety measures.
  3. President Biden restored our World Health Organization involvement, putting Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci at the head of the U.S.’s representation in the organization.
  4. President Biden “bolstered” the DACA program, which guaranteed deportation protections for undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children. President Biden has plans to put these immigrants on a “fast-track to citizenship” and claims his executive action will “protect and fortify” DACA. President Biden is advocating for Congress to pass legislation that would allow Dreamers to apply for permanent residency and then citizenship after three years of that permanent residency. 
  5. Trump’s plan to disclude ‘non-citizens’ from the census has been revoked, though since the census has already completed, many non-citizens still may have not participated.
  6. Biden lifted the ‘Muslim ban,’ which blocked travel to the U.S. from citizens of countries with a majority Muslim population.
  7. Construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall has been halted, with President Biden terminating the proclamation of a National Emergency. Biden’s administration is planning to redirect that money towards new projects, thought specifics have not yet been decided.
  8. President Biden re-entered America into the Paris Climate Accord, which seeks to decrease the effects of climate change. Biden sent a letter starting the 30-day process of rejoining on Jan. 22.
  9. Biden reversed several of Trump’s environmental policies. This includes revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, reversing Trump’s roll back of Vehicle Emissions Standards to match standards of the Obama administration in interest of lowering emissions, voiding actions to decrease the size of several national monuments, and enforcing limits on gas and oil leases at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  10. President Biden ended Trump’s 1776 Commission, a committee that supported “patriotic” education reform and notoriously published the 1776 report that downplayed the founding fathers’ support of slavery, as well as Trump’s limits on diversity training.
  11. Susan E. Rice, who is the head of President Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, has been given the responsibility of leading an effort to eliminate systemic racism in federal offices. The effort also requires the agencies to “review and report on equity in their ranks within 200 days, including a plan on how to remove barriers to opportunities in policies and programs.” President Biden’s order will attempt to make federal benefits and services equally accessible for minorities regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. 
  12. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that requires the federal government to not discriminate due to gender or sexual orientation has been reinforced.
  13. President Biden extended a federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to the end of March.
  14. President Biden extended the Federal Student Loan payment and interest freeze for the next eight months.
  15. All appointees in the executive branch were ordered to sign an ethics pledge. The pledge attacks “shadow lobbying,” a practice done by officials with “senior advisor” titles or something similar, which involves the official in making phone calls to other congresspeople “on behalf of a client to bridge a gap in communications.” Officials withdrawing from the administration are prohibited to take part in this practice for at least a full year.
  16. President Biden froze all new deregulations from the Trump administration from going into effect.
  17. President Biden has reversed Trump-era orders preventing transgender Americans from joining the military.

President Biden continues to introduce new legislation daily, and analysts predict Congress is ready to approve his 1.9 trillion relief plan amongst COVID-19 surges and nearly one million jobless claims. Additionally, his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour has been written into a Democrat Bill that is currently being considered by Congress. These actions would add to Biden’s 17 inauguration day executive orders that implement racial equity practices, direct money towards American manufacturing, and implement incarceration reform. The Quaker Campus will continue coverage of the Biden administration.

Featured image: Courtesy of Tom Brenner/ Reuters.

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