Immediately after being inaugurated, President Joe Biden went to work signing dozens of executive orders reversing Trump administration policy.
Biden wore a mask while seated behind the desk President Donald Trump had used just hours before. In front of Biden was a stack of orders he continued to sign into early Wednesday evening. He said there was “no time to start like today.”
The first order Biden signed was related to the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an order reentering the U.S. into the Paris Climate Accord and allowing immigration from Syria, Iran and North Korea.
Surprising many, Biden’s orders did not include a reversal of the well as the so-called Mexico City policy, which bans U.S. funding for international organizations that perform abortions.
Contrary to media speculation, President Donald Trump had left the incoming president a personal note on the Resolute Desk. The new president said Trump “wrote a very generous letter.” But Biden said he wouldn’t reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with Trump by phone.
Biden, who was inaugurated by giving one of the shortest speeches in modern history, did not take questions from the press.
Here’s a list of executive orders so far:
- Ending construction of the southern border security wall.
- Rejoining the World Health Organization. The WHO had issued information last winter that the Covid virus was not spread person-to-person and was criticized for not holding China accountable.
- Made Dr. Anthony Fauci the head of the delegation to the WHO.
- Lifting the ban on immigration from countries with connections to terrorists including Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria and other nations.
- Mandating masks on all federal properties, in national parks and other government facilities.
- Asking all 50 states and territories to institute mandatory mask policies for all citizens.
- Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord which many say shifts the burden of the cost of lowering emissions onto the American taxpayer.
- Ordered the federal government to interpret 1960s Civil Rights laws dealing with color to now include sexual identity.
- Suspends the new 1776 Commission which had sought to replace the flawed New York Times 1619 Project curriculum being promoted in schools. The 1776 Commission’s just-released report promoted patriotic education.
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- Reverse Trump’s ban on counting illegal aliens in the Census.
- Extending the student loan freeze until Sept. 30, 2021
- Revoke the permit on the XL oil pipeline which was scheduled to be completed next year.
- Ended the National Emergency put in place when hundreds of thousands of immigrants flooded the border.
- Extending moratorium on evictions.
- Calling on Congress to provide permanent status to “Dreamers.”
- Requires executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in personal interest and requiring them to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice
- Extends deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a safe haven in the United States until June 30, 2022
- Directs OMB director to develop recommendations to modernize regulatory review and undoes newly established regulatory approval process.
- Creates the position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator, reporting directly to Biden and managing efforts to produce and distribute vaccines and medical equipment.
The executive orders and other planned policy changes will come in a flurry of activity in the next 10 days according to the new administration. Aides say Biden will look to refashion the country without having to go through an evenly split Senate in which Democrats will need the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties.
Republican pushback on orders and policy
Republicans on Wednesday, even in a spirit of the successful transfer of power, signaled that Biden will face fierce opposition on some parts of his agenda and executive orders.
One of his orders seeks to institutionalize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, the Obama administration’s policy that kept “dreamers” in limbo. President Trump had asked Congress to take up the issue and provide legislation that he could sign but the Congress, whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, could not move on legislation. Biden’s new plan would include providing an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
Republicans say it only makes the matter worse.
The Biden policy would lead to “a permanent cycle of illegal immigration and amnesty that would hurt hard-working Americans and the millions of legal immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process,” said Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice
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