Anyone who has been keeping an eye on America for the last four years can tell you what a disaster Donald Trump has been, and that Biden is a much overdue fresh start. 78-year-old Joe has moved quickly to undo the disasters that Donald Trump made, signing 17 executive orders in his first 24 hours in office, quoting: “There’s no time to start like today.” This vastly contrasts Trump who had signed 24 in his first 100 days. These were a massive hindrance for America, such as the executive order to start building the wall and eliminating gun-free zones in schools.
Biden is making so many changes, it’s hard to keep up! This is such an important time in history and I think it’s vital to know the main actions that have been taken. So here are some of the key changes that Biden has made since taking office in 2021.
1. Stopped US Withdrawal from the World Health Organisation
Last year, Trump was moving to withdraw from the WHO, after he accused them of being under China’s control and “misleading the world.” Within the first day of being President, Biden signed the executive order to reverse what Trump had put in place. The US are the biggest donators to the WHO, so losing their funding would have had a major impact on the world’s response to COVID-19.
2. Mandated Mask Wearing
One of Biden’s first tasks was to make sure masks are to be worn on all federal properties and public transport. America is one of the worst-hit countries, recording over 25.5 million cases of COVID-19, which is shockingly a quarter of COVID-19 cases the whole world has had. Responding to backlash from many, Biden claims “It is not a political statement” but a “patriotic act.”
3. Re-joined the Paris Climate Agreement
Along with his list of many other things to change on his first day in office, Biden re-joined the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015 to limit the increasing global temperature, which has just set a record for the highest in 2020. His beliefs majorly contrast Trump’s and Biden claims climate change is second on his list of priorities behind the coronavirus.
4. Reversed the Muslim Ban
In 2017 Donald Trump placed a travel ban on people from predominantly Muslim countries. It’s shocking how such a discriminatory policy was put in place, especially when a lot of these people are desperate to escape very violent countries that threaten their human rights. Thankfully, Biden’s reversing the ban was one of the first things he did and has given hope again to many struggling families.
5. Repealed the Transgender Military Ban
To add to the list of discriminatory policies that Trump introduced and Biden reversed is the Transgender Military Ban. Biden announced this on his Instagram quoting “America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.”
6. Paused Student Loans
Ordered by the President, the Secretary of Education has put a pause on student loan payments along with setting the interest rate at 0% until at least the end of September. The government is concerned about the economic situation of many American families and doesn’t want them to “choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.”
7. Stopped the building of the wall
Donald Trump’s promise of a wall was one of the main elements that made Trumpism such a popular idea for many Americans. Yet, as Biden says, it’s “not a serious policy solution” and construction of the wall has now been stopped and funds redirected.
8. Preserved the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
When Obama was in office he introduced DACA which protects immigrant youths from deportation. In 2017 Trump threatened the existence of the policy, announcing he was stopping its expansion and planned to phase it out during his presidency. However, Biden has now ordered it to be reinstated which will be a massive relief to those who have made lives in America and were threatened with deportation.
9. Restored the Affordable Care Act
The ACA was another of Obama’s acts that Trump wanted to destroy. Biden has made sure to restore it as he’s majorly concerned for the many Americans affected by COVID-19 who without the ACA would be left to struggle alone. “As we continue to battle COVID-19, it is even more critical that Americans have meaningful access to affordable care.”
10. Extended Moratorium on Evictions
As part of the President’s Economic Relief actions, he has extended the moratorium on evictions. This could save over 40 million people from losing their homes, as many have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are struggling to pay their rent.
11. Expanded food security benefits.
There are more than 40 million Americans who rely on food programmes to be able to feed their families. Biden recognised the struggle these families have faced during the pandemic and increased the food security benefits saying, “We cannot, will not, let people go hungry.”
12. Strengthening the nation-to-nation relationships
One of Bidens aims is to fulfil the promise they have given “Tribal Nations for more than two centuries.” The memorandum gives federal agencies 90 days to come up with a plan of action to consult tribal nations on issues that involve them.
13. Rescinded the 1776 Commission.
Trump wanted to return to a “patriotic education”, so he commissioned a report by mostly male, conservative educators, who were accused of making the report “pseudohistory”. Only two days after the 1776 Commission was released by Trump, Biden rescinded it.
14. Preventing Workplace Discrimination
This executive order means that employers cannot legally discriminate people within their workplace based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. The policy claims “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.”
15. Cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline
Biden has revoked the work permit on the Keystone XL pipeline due to its threats to the climate, environment and public health. The pipeline was vetoed by the Obama administration in 2015 but the order was overturned by Trump. Native Americans and environmentalists have been fighting its completion ever since.
16. Revised Immigration Policies
During his Presidency, Trump expanded immigration enforcement to reduce illegal immigration in the US. Biden has stopped the expansion saying “Immigrants have helped strengthen America’s families, communities, businesses and workforce, and economy, infusing the United States with creativity, energy, and ingenuity.”
17. Rescinded the Mexico City Policy
In 2017, Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy which bans US Government funding for foreign non-profits that promote and perform abortions. Biden has rescinded the policy claiming it was an “attack on women’s health access.”
18. Refunded the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Their aim is to “deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” Like with the WHO, the US were one of the agency’s main funders until Trump pulled funding, saying it supported “coercive abortion and involuntary sterilisation.” Biden has now re-joined and is funding the agency once again.
19. Stopped the renewal of Private Prison Contracts
In 2016, the DOJ’s office investigated private prisons and public federal prisons. They found that private prisons had a 28% higher rate of inmate-on-inmate assault and more than double the occurrences of inmate-on-staff assaults. On the 26th of January, Biden signed an executive order meaning that private prison contracts will no longer be renewed. However, many argue this isn’t enough, as it will not free the prisoners housed in private prisons currently and will be a slow transition rather than severing contracts immediately.
20. Reuniting migrant children with their families
Trump’s 2017 zero-tolerance policy caused 5000 children to be separated from their parents and guardians. Biden has started a task force which will start to reunite these children with their families. No families should be forced apart, especially in a time of such a crisis.
Biden is starting to bring a much-divided country together again. It will be interesting to see how much America continues to change for the better under a refreshing new rule and without the constant, ridiculous and damaging tweets from the un-missed Trump!
Words By: Savanna Ruffini Sutich
Edited By: Nina Bitkowska