Biden Begins to Wash Away the Scourge of Trumpism with a Wave of Executive Orders
President Joe Biden made a good start yesterday in expunging Donald Trump's shameful legacy. There is much to do and some of it will take legislation by Congress, but Biden demonstrated that he won't waste any time in reversing Trump's most reviled policies.
Immigration: Biden ended the "Muslim ban" which blocked travel to the United States from several predominantly Muslim and African countries and strengthened DACA protections for the children of undocumented immigrants [Dreamers], calling on Congress to provide permanent status and a path to citizenship,
He also halted construction on the border wall and revoked Trump's plan to exclude noncitizens from the census count.
However, Biden's ambitious plan to provide a path to citizenship for about 11 million undocumented residents will take congressional approval and will likely lead to an epic struggle with Republicans.
Science and the Environment: Even before his inauguration, Biden signaled that scientists will play a key role in policy formulation at the White House. Last week he nominated Eric Lander to be his science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and elevated the role of science adviser to cabinet rank.
Yesterday, Biden started the process of rejoining the Paris climate agreement and signed an order to undo Trump's decision to slash the size of several national monuments. He also reversed Trump's rollback on vehicle emissions standards and imposed a moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Economy: Biden will extend the moratorium on federal student loan payments through the end of September and pause foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages. The President has also proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, including direct payments to Americans and money for ramping up Covid vaccinations, but that will take congressional approval.
Coronavirus Response: The President took steps to rejoin the World Health Organization and created the position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator who will report directly to Biden and manage federal efforts to ramp up the production and distribution of vaccines and medical equipment.
Additionally, Biden launched a "100 Days Masking Challenge" asking Americans to wear masks for 100 days. The order also requires masks and physical distancing on federal property and urges states and local governments to do the same.
Human Rights: Biden signed an order to prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and took steps to end the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, an inane attempt to revise US history texts to fit the "patriotic" narrative preferred by conservatives. The President is also expected to lift the ban on military service by transgender Americans in the coming days.
Ethics: In a direct rejection of Trump era corruption, Biden issued an executive order requiring executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in their personal interest and directing them to uphold the independence of the Justice Department.
And President Biden is far from done. He has already laid out an aggressive agenda for the coming weeks.
CNN: "The themes next week will be "Buy American," with a Monday executive order beefing up requirements for government purchases of goods and services from US companies; equity on Tuesday, coupled with a push to eliminate private prisons; climate on Wednesday with an executive order kicking off regulatory actions reestablishing the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and combating climate change; health care on Thursday, a day on which Biden will rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy blocking federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services; and immigration on Friday, when Biden plans to sign executive orders focused on border processing and refugee policies and establish a family reunification task force."
"February will focus on what's identified in the calendar document as "restoring America's place in the world."
Biden will face opposition from Republicans in Congress and their allies in the right-wing media soon enough, but for now Americans can relish the restoration of empathy, competence, and integrity to the executive branch.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content