The United States Has a New President: Here Are His Plans

Cover Image Credit: CNN

The United States Has a New President: Here Are His Plans

A closer look at Joe Biden’s first days in office.


February 1, 2021

Written by Yasmin Miranda

After a tumultuous presidential campaign, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was inaugurated on January 20th, 2021 and his first 100 days in office began. His presidency begins amidst the greatest challenges the United States has ever faced- a global pandemic, and economic crisis, and a threat to democracy. Just to name a few.

During his campaign, Biden vowed to take immediate steps to fixing the economy, getting more Americans vaccinated, and reversing a lot of Former President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies, such as on immigration and the environment.

On his first day as president, Biden signed over a dozen executive orders ranging from coronavirus relief to immigration reform.

Here are the 17 executive orders signed on day 1:

  1. Requiring Face Masks on Federal Property: This order requires that people wear face coverings while on federal property. An order being dubbed as the “100 day mask challenge”.

  2. Rejoining the World Health Organization: This order comes as a reversal to the Trump administration’s move to leave the WHO last year, now in an effort to show commitment to fighting COVID-19 the Biden Administration has moved to rejoin the WHO.

  3. Rejoining the Paris Agreement: The Biden Administration sent the United Nations an agreement to rejoin the Paris Agreement to slash greenhouse emissions, within 30 days.

  4. Creation of White House COVID-19 Response Team: Reestablishing the “National Security Council’s directorate for global health security and biodefense” Biden has set up a team which will work on the federal level with states on COVID-19 relief such as vaccinations, reopenings, etc.

  5. Freezing Student Debt: This order will continue to freeze student debt collection until September 2021.

  6. Abolishing the “Muslim ban”: This order reversed the previous administations order to halt immigration from seven mulsim-majoity countries into the United States. This order also will restart the visa program for these countries within 45 days.

  7. Incorporation of Undocumented Immigrants to the Census:This order is in response to the previous administations attempt to exulde undocumented immigrants from the Census, which could greatly affect how each state is represented in Congress. This order ensures that they will be counted.

  8. Canceling of the Keystone XL Permit: Among reversing previous permits for drilling in national parks and monuments, setting stricter requirements for vehicles, pausing oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, this order also concealed the controversial Keystone pipeline permit which carried crude oil from Canada to the United States cutting through Native lands.

  9. Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities: The increased funding of underserved communities, establishing a plan within 200 days to tackle the issues faced by underserved communities, and the abolishment of the 1776 Commission make up this order. The 1776 Commission aimed at a more conservative teaching curriculum of the United States. Although it was only active for a few months it was widely criticized for inaccuracies.

  10. Fortification of DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals aka DACA was in constant danger of being eliminated under the Trump Administration, this order reinforced the Obama-era program.

  11. Termination of Mexico-U.S. Border Wall: This order terminated the National Emergency declaration that the Trump administration used to use federal funding to build the border wall. This order also halted any construction under the new administration.

  12. CDC Eviction Moratorium and Foreclosures Extension: This order extended the pause in evictions and foreclosures to at least March 2021.

  13. Repeal of Trump Immigration Interior Enforcement Rule: This order repealed a Trump administration rule that expanded the work of immigration officers and broadened who they should detain and deport. Soon after a memorandum was issued pausing deportations for 100 days, a regulation that was blocked by a federal judge on 1/26/21.

  14. Extension of Deportation Protections for Liberians: This order extends the “Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)” protection for Liberians up to June 30, 2022.

  15. Banning of Workplace Descrimination based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation: An interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, this order seeks to prohibit workplace decrimination on the basis of a persons gender or secual ortientation. The order also instructs federal agencies to make sure that sexual descrimation laws include LGBT+ workers.

  16. Ethics Pledge by Executive Branch Officials: Things such as accepting gifts from lobbyists, an employment qualification commitment, accepting of money and salaries outside of their government job, and relating ethical dilemmas are described, and many prohibited by this order for both the president and executive branch appointees.

  17. Halting of last Trump Administration Regulations:  A final blow to the Trump Administration, this order halts any regulations or orders that may be currently in progress, until they are reviewed by the new administration.

These 17 executive orders signed on Biden’s first day were part of the promises he made while on the campaign trail, promising COVID-19 response, Immigration reform, protection of Transgender rights, and environmental regulations.

Still, there’s still a lot of work to do. Since then, President Biden has signed various executive orders tackling pressing issues faced by the country. At the same time, the President is relying on the Democratic House and Senate majority to help him roll out a lot of his plans for the first 100 days of his presidency. Although Democrats have a congressional majority, scraping by a 50-50 Senatorial majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tie breaker, there is still an expected push-back from Republicans.

Some of the things that the President hopes to tackle on his first 100 days include rebuilding foreign relations, gun control, repealing tax cuts for the wealthy, the resigning of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, adding more provisions to it, and racial injustice issues. Democrats have been pushing for criminal justice reforms concerning the multiple police murders of African Americans across the country, another issue Biden plans to address in his first 100 days.

Voting rights were a huge issue during the 2020 presidential election, people across the country reporting suppression of their voting rights. Democrats have since been pushing for an expansion of the Voting Rights Act in order to address the issues of voter suppression throughout the United States. The ability of a state to interfere with a citizen’s right to vote along with the limited voting centers are some of the things this push is expected to fight against.

Image Credit // CBS NEWS

For now, however, the biggest challenge facing the Biden Administration is COVID-19. Their plan to “Build Back Better” includes ensuring that Americans have free, accessible testing and doubling testing sites, providing scientifically-backed research on how states should handle and navigate the pandemic, including, but not limited to school and business reopenings, investing $25 billion on vaccination distribution, nationwide mask mandates, and finally, reinstating “pathogen-tracking program- PREDICT” which will predict and prevent pandemics of the scale of COVID-19 in the future.

No doubt the issues being eyed by the Biden Administration will not be resolved from one day to the next, but they do signal a new era for the United States. How much President Biden is able to get done is something that only time will tell, but his progressive agenda is ambitious and could change the landscape of the country.