I am writing this article the day after President Biden’s inauguration, and I truly feel like I can breathe a little easier, and that I slept a little better last night. I was touched by Lady Gaga’s performance, inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem, and was absolutely mesmerized by Jill Biden’s, Michelle Obama’s, and Kamala Harris’ beautiful ensembles. But what I was happiest about were all the executive orders Joe Biden signed during his first 2 days on the job. There were 26 executive orders total, so I’m going to break it down into a few general categories, and talk about some wonderful change being enacted right now.
Almost half of all the executive orders were tied to COVID-19. President Biden created the position of coordinator for the COVID-19 response, as well as a coronavirus testing board. He also reversed some of the Trump administration’s actions during the pandemic, including the withdrawal from the World Health Organization. Biden’s administration will also be enforcing a mask mandate on federal property and various modes of public transportation for at least the next 100 days. He has also ordered better protections for workers during the pandemic, increased access to COVID-19 treatments, and guidance for schools planning to reopen.
- The Economy
President Biden extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until the end of March. He also extended student loan deferrals until October and continued the 0% interest rates on these loans.
- The Environment
President Biden put the US back into the Paris Climate Accord (which contrary to what Ted Cruz would have you believe, has nothing to do with the interests of Paris and its citizens). He also canceled the permit for the Keystone pipeline, which would have endangered native animals and irreversibly damaged sacred indigenous lands.
Almost all of the immigration-related executive orders signed by President Biden served to reverse several of Donald Trump’s racist, xenophobic policies. Biden ended all funding for the US-Mexico border wall construction, ended the infamous “Muslim travel ban,” and revoked several of Trump’s immigration and deportation policies. He has also vowed to strengthen and preserve protection offered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and ordered undocumented immigrants to be counted in the US census.
The President signed an order that is designed to remove barriers and improve access and opportunities for people of color, and another that ordered all government agencies to evaluate their policies on sexual and gender discrimination and make any additions or revisions that would promote inclusion. Biden has also created a Health Equity Task Force to examine systemic inequity that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Last but not least, President Biden will require all government appointees to adhere to ethics rules. This ethics pledge was designed to prevent members of his administration from accepting gifts from lobbyists, lobbying within 2 years after leaving office, and lobbying for foreign states.