A president’s first 100 days in office often forecast their success over the next four years. This time was important during FDR’s presidency in 1933 and has remained symbolic since then. However, Biden’s actions during his first day in office may be setting a new precedent. Along with swearing in over 1,000 new appointees via Zoom, President Biden also signed at least 17 new executive orders and a new range of domestic and international policies. Here are five of the key orders Biden passed less than 24 hours into his presidency.
- Rejoined the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty between 197 countries to make efforts against global warming. It legally binds countries to limit their climate polluting actions and ramp up clean energy advancements. Trump, an avid climate change denier, promised to leave the treaty during his 2016 campaign and formally pulled the U.S. out of the treaty the following year. Biden rejoined the treaty on Jan. 20, 2021.
- Rescinded construction permit for Keystone XL Oil Pipeline
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline permit allowed the construction of an oil transporting pipeline between Canada and Nebraska. Eventually, the pipeline would connect to an existing one and transport crude oil to the Gulf Coast. The Obama administration rejected the permit in 2015, claiming it would “undermine” the U.S.’s efforts to move to more sustainable fuel. Trump approved it in 2017. Many proponents of the pipeline indicated the impending profit and creation of jobs from the pipeline itself. However, economists mentioned that Canadian oil would only be profitable at $65/barrel, but oil prices typically sit around $40/barrel. Biden’s suspension of construction will be a controversial one between many climate deniers.
- Rejoined the World Health Organization (WHO)
In July, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump withdrew from the WHO, the only global health agency. He accused the WHO of being a “puppet” for China, marking it as a security threat. Unfortunately for Trump, the UN requires a one-year notice before withdrawing from the global organization, and Biden was inaugurated only six months later. Biden has already reversed the withdrawal notice, a choice the WHO boss, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, seemed thankful for.
- Signed an executive order preventing discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation
Last year, 17 different states introduced bills that would force students to participate in sports aligned with the sex dictated on their birth certificate. Idaho became the first state to engage a law preventing transgender girls from playing on female teams sponsored by public schools or colleges. Biden’s new executive order marked a success for all transgender athletes, stating the new order is meant to “prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.” This bill has caused many on the right-wing to call it the “end of girls’ sports” for allowing transgender girls to play female sports. You can read the full bill here.
- Ended the “Remain in Mexico” Policy
The Trump administration implemented the controversial “Migrant Protection Protocols Policy,” otherwise known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, in January 2019. As the name suggests, the policy forced asylum seekers who were trying to enter the US from the southern border to stay in Mexico until their scheduled court hearings in the U.S. Of course, this has led to tremendous strain on Mexico, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many immigrants wait years for court hearings, and the policy has forced these individuals to remain in unsafe and unsanitary living conditions in the hopes of one day being granted asylum. Biden not only ended this policy during his first day, but halted deportations of certain non-citizens living in the U.S.
These are just a few of the many things Biden did on his first day in office. You can find a more comprehensive list here.
While the Biden administration still has plenty to do to resolve the remnants of chaos from the past four years, his beginning efforts have definitely shown promise for Biden’s next four years in office. The president’s actions on Inauguration Day are good indicators that he plans to follow through on his promises to create positive change in the nation within the next 4 years. As always, stay safe, mask up, and eat the rich.