Biden plans dozens of executive orders for early days of presidency

  • In Politics
  • 2021-01-16 22:16:26Z
  • By Politico

WILMINGTON, Del. - Joe Biden is planning to sign dozens of executive orders in his first days in office, as he aims to roll back some of President Donald Trump's signature policies on immigration and climate change while taking early action to address the coronavirus crisis.

After being sworn in on Wednesday, Biden will rescind the travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries, rejoin the Paris climate accords, extend limits on student loan payments and evictions instituted during the pandemic and issue a mask mandate on federal properties and for interstate travel. Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain outlined the flurry of activity for Biden's first 10 days in office in a memo to senior staff on Saturday.

"These actions will change the course of COVID-19, combat climate change, promote racial equity and support other underserved communities, and rebuild our economy in ways that strengthen the backbone of this country: the working men and women who built our nation," Klain wrote in the memo. "While the policy objectives in these executive actions are bold, I want to be clear: the legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the President."

On Biden's second day in office, he will sign executive actions focused on addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, including ways to help schools and business reopen safely, expand testing, protect workers and establish clearer public health standards. The next day, Biden will direct his Cabinet to work on delivering economic relief to families most affected by the crisis.

In subsequent days, Biden will expand "Buy America provisions," take action to advance "equity and support communities of color," begin to reform the criminal justice, expand access to healthcare and work toward reuniting families separated at the border. Klain did not specify what these actions would entail, but the memo follows Biden's introduction this week of his legislative agenda, which includes a $1.9 trillion relief bill.

Klain conceded much of Biden's agenda would need the support of Congress, a prospect that improved after Democrats took control of the Senate earlier this month. But any action in Congress is likely to be delayed as the Senate is slated to begin Trump's second impeachment trial shortly after Biden takes office.

The memo did not include, however, rejoining the World Health Organization - something Biden had previously promised he would do on his first day in office as part of his goal of reengaging with the global community on Covid-19 and other health threats.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the global health body last year and withheld tens of millions in U.S. funding. Once he enters the White House, Biden can write to the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres directing him to ignore Trump's actions. But what kind of relationship the U.S. has with WHO under Biden remains to be seen, particularly when it comes to funding the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to struggling countries.

The transition declined to respond to questions about whether Biden would keep his promise to immediately rejoin WHO and restore U.S. funding to the organization.

Alice Miranda Ollstein contributed to this report.


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