Biden begins to undo Trump’s legacy with decrees

Biden begins to undo Trump’s legacy with decrees

President Joe Biden signed 17 executive actions, among several decrees, just hours after his inauguration on Wednesday, acting faster and more aggressively to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor than any other modern president.

Biden signed a series of executive orders, memorandums and directives for agencies, his first steps in addressing the coronavirus pandemic and undoing some of former President Donald Trump’s signature policies.

“There is no (better) time to start than today,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office as he began to sign a pile of orders and memos. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

With a stroke of the pen, Biden stopped funding for Trump’s border wall, reversed his travel ban targeting predominantly Muslim countries, and adopted progressive policies on the environment and diversity that Trump spent four years blocking.

Biden also reversed several of Trump’s attempts to withdraw from international agreements, beginning the process of rejoining the Paris climate agreement and halting the United States’ departure from the World Health Organization, in which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, leads the US delegation.

His first action was to impose a mask mandate on federal property, a break in approach to dealing with the pandemic from Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the virus. Biden also installed a coronavirus response coordinator to oversee the White House’s efforts to distribute vaccines and medical supplies.

Press secretary Jen Psaki and other top Biden officials had told reporters on the eve of his inauguration that the first day’s actions are just one part of what will be a series of actions to undo Trump’s policies and implement Biden’s campaign promises in his first weeks in office.

Biden’s decree schedule

Biden plans to focus each day in January on a specific topic, according to a draft calendar document sent to administration allies and viewed by Citizen Free Press.

Thursday, Biden’s first full day in office, will focus on the coronavirus pandemic, and Friday will highlight Biden’s push for economic relief, including bills restoring the collective bargaining rights of federal employees and directing agency action on safety net programs, including Medicaid and unemployment insurance.

Next week’s themes will be “Buy American Products,” with a decree on Monday tightening requirements for government purchases of goods and services from American companies; fairness on Tuesday, along with a push to eliminate private prisons; climate on Wednesday with a decree that began regulatory actions that reestablish the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology and the fight against climate change; health care on Thursday, the day Biden will rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy that blocks federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion services; and immigration on Friday, when Biden plans to sign decrees focused on border processing and refugee policies and establish a family reunification task force.

February will focus on what is identified in the calendar document as “restoring America’s place in the world.”

Here’s a look at the 17 actions Biden took on his first day in office:

Topic Does it reverse Trump’s policy? Description
Coronavirus No

Launches a “100 Day Wear Mask Challenge” that asks Americans to wear masks for 100 days. Requires masks and physical distancing in federal buildings, on federal land, and by government contractors, and urges state and local governments to do the same

Coronavirus Yes

Stops America’s Withdrawal from the World Health Organization, and Dr. Anthony Fauci Becomes Head of Delegation to WHO

Coronavirus No

Creates covid-19 response coordinator position, reports directly to Biden, and manages efforts to produce and distribute vaccines and medical equipment

Economy No

Extends the existing national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until at least March 31

Economy No

Extends the existing pause in student loan payments and interest for Americans with federal student loans until at least September 30

Environment Yes

It rejoins the Paris climate agreement, a process that will take 30 days

Environment Yes

Cancels Keystone XL Pipeline and Orders Agencies to Review and Reverse More Than 100 Trump Actions on the Environment

Equity Yes

Overrides Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, orders agencies to review their actions to ensure racial fairness

Equity No

Avoid discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity

Census Yes

Requires non-citizens to be included in the census and the distribution of representatives in Congress

Immigration No

Strengthens DACA After Trump’s Efforts to Undo Protections for Undocumented People Brought to the Country as Children

Immigration Yes

Reverses Trump Administration Restrictions on Entry to the United States for Passport Holders from Seven Muslim-Majority Countries

Immigration Yes

Undo Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement within the United States

Immigration Yes

Halts construction of the border wall by ending the declaration of national emergency used to finance it

Immigration No

Extends deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a safe haven in the United States until June 30, 2022

ethic No

It requires that persons appointed by the executive branch sign an ethical commitment that prohibits them from acting in their personal interest and requires them to defend the independence of the Department of Justice

Regulation Yes

Directs OMB Director to Develop Recommendations to Modernize Regulatory Review and Roll Back Trump’s Regulatory Approval Process

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