For Joe Biden, there is no time like the present: in just one full day after being inaugurated as President of the United States, he signed 17 executive orders, nine of which are direct reversals of policies enacted by Donald Trump.
The contrasts of Biden’s first day in office to Trump, who signed 24 executive actions in his first 100 days, are numerous. After Trump took the presidential oath, he pledged to build a wall against the southern border of the U.S., eliminate gun-free zones in schools, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and remove federal restrictions on energy protection, among other orders that Biden’s administration seeks to reverse.
Biden has a lot of changes in store. Pledging his commitment to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, revising immigration policies, and taking the threat of climate change seriously are just a few of the many executive orders that Biden has signed in just one day as President. Though, Biden, a former Senator, knows there’s only so much he can do alone and this is just the beginning.
“There’s a long way to go,” he said from the Oval Office. “These are just executive actions. They are important, but we’re going to need legislation for a lot of the things we’re going to do.”
Stopped Withdrawal from the World Health Organization
Last July, Trump announced plans to reverse the United States’s involvement with and funding of the World Health Organization. The news came as a shock to those who saw the government’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic (and the ways in which Trump repeatedly downplayed the danger of the virus). Dr. Anthony Fauci announced on Wednesday morning that the U.S. will continue to support the WHO. Dr. Fauci has also been named the head of delegation to the WHO.
Installed a Coronavirus Response Coordinator
Biden announced that the position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator will soon be filled. This person will directly report to Biden and be in charge of producing and distributing the Covid-19 vaccine.
Biden is challenging all Americans to wear masks for 100 days with the “100 Day Mask Challenge,” and is requiring by executive order that physical distance be practiced and masks be worn in federal buildings and on federal lands.
Extended the Eviction Moratorium
The nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures has been extended until at least March 31.
Paused Student Loans
Stopped Construction of the Border Wall
This executive order terminated the national emergency declaration that was used to fund the construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico, and has halted construction.
After Trump made an effort to revoke protections for undocumented children brought into the United States, Biden has signed the executive order to fortify the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA).
Rescinded the 1776 Commission
Trump’s attempt at re-writing American history, otherwise known as the “1776 Commission,” has been rescinded by Biden. The commission consisted of 18 people, none of whom were historians and most of whom were conservative men, and filed a report that was intended to promote a “patriotic education.” The report, which has already been removed, attempted to associate progressive politics with fascism. Biden’s administration signed the order to rescind the commission and “direct all agencies to review actions to ensure racial equity.”
Reversed the Travel Ban
The Trump administration placed restrictions on entry into the United States for passport holders from primarily Muslim countries and African countries. Biden has reversed this travel ban by executive order.
Prevented Workplace Discrimination Against the LGBTQ Community
Under this executive order, employers can no longer legally discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ensured a Lawful and Accurate Census Report
Under Biden’s new executive order, non-citizens must be included in the Census report.
Rejoined the Paris Climate Accord
It’ll take 30 days before it’s official, but the United States has rejoined the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change that was signed in 2016.
Canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline
Biden has revoked the permit for work on the 2,687 mile oil pipeline that runs between Canada and the United States and is owned by TC Energy and the Government of Alberta. For over a decade, citizens have protested the existence of the pipeline for the threats it poses to the climate, drinking water, and public health, and in 2015 it was vetoed by the Obama administration. Biden is also looking into to reverse over 100 of Trump’s executive actions concerning the environment.
Revised Immigration Policies
Biden has revoked Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement in the U.S. by executive order. He also extended a deferral of deportations for Liberians who may need to use the U.S. as a safe haven until June 30, 2022. “We must also adhere to due process of law as we safeguard the dignity and well-being of all families and communities,” he wrote. “My Administration will reset the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws to align enforcement with these values and priorities.”
Modernized Regulatory Review
Biden’s administration plans to reverse Trump’s regulatory approval process by directing the Office of Management and Budget to review “significant executive branch regulatory actions.” Basically this means there should be no more last-minute rules set in stone overnight.
Made the Executive Branch Ethical Again
Members of the executive branch must now sign a pledge that prevents them from acting in personal interest, and mandates that they maintain the Department of Justice’s independence.
Redecorated the Oval Office
It’s not an executive order, but it was one of the first orders of business for the Biden administration’s White House. A painting of Andrew Jackson (the 7th U.S. president infamously known for signing the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forcibly relocated Native Americans in the south) was taken down and replaced with a painting of Ben Franklin. Busts of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez were added. And the rugs and curtains were swapped out, too. The new digs are certainly demonstrative of a new era.