By Haddon Libby
During the first ten days of the Biden Administration, forty-two executive orders were signed. One closed loopholes and reduced waivers that allowed federal agencies to buy foreign goods more easily. During the Trump Administration, the purchase of non-US goods by federal agencies increased 30%.
Two in five of Biden’s executive orders relate to COVID-19:
- Directed FEMA to create more vaccination centers.
- Directive to expand U.S. COVID testing capacity.
- Accelerated the manufacture and delivery of vaccines, PPE and testing.
- Directed the Department of Education and HHS to provide educators and childcare providers guidance on how to safely reopen and operate.
- Directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide business with clear guidelines on how to handle COVID-19.
- Creates a COVID Response Coordinator that secures and distributes vaccines and medical equipment nationally.
- More economic relief to those impacted by COVID.
- Extended national eviction and foreclosure moratorium until March 31st.
- Pauses repayment of all interest and loan payments on student loans until at least September 30th.
- Require everyone to wear masks when travelling on planes, trains, boats and buses. People entering the United States, must provide proof that they do not have COVID-19.
- Imposes travel restrictions on those coming to the United States from Brazil, the U.K., Ireland and South Africa.
- Establishes a task force to make sure that COVID resources are equitably allocated toward the areas of our country suffering most from the pandemic.
- Returns the United States to the World Health Organization.
- Requires mask wearing by everyone on federal lands.
- National Security directive to begin preparing now for future threats to our national health.
- Directive to enhance and improve COVID data and analysis abilities for public dissemination.
- Established preclinical programs to help the development of COVID vaccines and therapeutics.
- Directed the National Guard to reimburse states for the costs of the National Guard itself as well as the emergency supplies deployed.
A number related to Healthcare, Science and the Environment:
- Reopened enrollment in the Affordable Care Act from February 15th until May 15th.
- Removed restrictions on aid to foreign nonprofits that may perform abortions as part of health care clinics.
- Reestablished the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a department disbanded by Trump.
- Proclamation to restore trust in government through the use of science and technology when making fact-based decisions as it relates to policymaking.
- Rejoined the Paris Climate Accord which strives to limit global warming.
- Suspend new oil and gas leases as the administration works on climate change issues.
- Cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline and set about the review of over one hundred Trump actions related to the environment.
Many of the orders reflect a kinder and more inclusive approach:
- Instructed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to comply with the Fair Housing Act.
- Instructed agencies to work more collaboratively with Tribal Nations.
- Executive Order requiring all appointees to take an ethics pledge. Department of Justice appointees were instructed to maintain complete independence from any other branch of government.
- Strengthened protections toward DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (the children of non-citizens in the US illegally).
- Ended Trump administration bans keeping people from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.
- Reinstated the deferred departure of Liberian citizens currently in the United States until June, 2022.
- Stopped building the wall at the Mexican border.
- Discontinued Trump Administration immigration enforcement policies and priorities.
- Acknowledged the rise in racism, xenophobia and intolerance and directed HHS to improve our cultural competency as a country while working to prevent a growing number of hate crimes and harassment.
- Ends the use of private prisons as contracts expire.
- Restores collective bargaining power protections to federal workers while moving toward a $15/hour minimum wage at the national level.
- Prevents workplace discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Reverses a Trump Administration ban against transgender people from serving in the military.
- Includes noncitizens in the census court for apportionment reasons as it relates to representation in the House and Senate.
In addition to these forty orders, Biden ended the Trump’s regulatory approval process and directed the Office of Management and Budget to come up with modernized approach. He also terminated Trump’s November-created 1776 Commission.