Biden Spent First Week Legislating With The Stroke Of A Pen Over 40 Executive Actions

Biden Spent First Week Legislating With The Stroke Of A Pen Over 40 Executive Actions

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
February 1, 2021

President Biden has signed a ­slew of executive actions since taking office on January 20. With just a few strokes of a pen, Biden reversed many policies of former President Donald Trump, with his administration goal of completely erasing the legacy of his predecessor.

“President-elect Biden will take action—not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration—but also to start moving our country forward,” a memo from his chief of Staff Ron Klain stated just before Biden was sworn in that outlined his first two weeks of his presidency.

During his 10-day cascade so far, Biden has signed 25 executive orders, more than double the amount of the past seven presidents combined. Over the same timeframe, Trump signed 7 executive orders while former President Obama signed 9.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Biden’s dependency on executive action goes against his pledge as a candidate to be a consensus builder. During his Senate floor speech Thursday morning, McConnell brought up a comment Biden said as a candidate during an ABC’s Townhall before the election where he stated that “you can’t legislate by executive action unless you are a dictator.”

“I have this strange notion. We are a democracy. Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democratic friends even say: well if you can’t get the votes, by executive order you’re going to do something, things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator,” Biden told ABC host George Stephanopoulos.

The liberal New York Times are also sounding the alarm of Biden using his pen frequently out of the gate. Last week, the editorial board ran an opinion piece headlined “Ease up on the Executive Actions, Joe.”

Here is a list of the orders, memorandum, and proclamations Biden has signed in his first 10 days in the Oval Office.

Jan. 20

  • Executive order rescinding Trump’s 1776 Commission, a panel Trump established to research and promote “patriotic education” in response to the New York Times’ 1619 Project
  • Executive order revoking Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the 2020 census count.
  • Executive order canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and directs agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment.
  • Executive order prohibiting workplace discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation and gender identity and directing federal agencies to ensure protections for LGBTQ people are included in anti-discrimination statutes.
  • Executive order creating a COVID-19 response coordinator.
  • Executive order mandating mask-wearing and social distancing on all federal properties
  • Executive order revoking Trump’s 2017 Interior Enforcement Executive Order, which broadened the categories of undocumented immigrants subject to removal, restarted the Secure Communities program and supported the federal 287(g) deportation program.
  • Executive order requiring all government appointees to sign an ethics pledge to prohibit the acceptance of gifts from registered lobbyists and lobbying for at least two years after exiting the government.
  • Executive order extending the pause on student loan payments and nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Executive order scrapped a batch of Trump-era executive actions that restricted how federal agencies make regulatory changes, including one measure requiring agencies to discard two regulations for every one proposed.
  • Proclamation ending construction of Trump’s signature wall on the U.S.-Mexican border by proclaiming the “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration Trump used to fund it.
  • Proclamation reversing Trump’s policy that barred entry to the U.S. for refugees and residents from seven predominantly Muslim countries and orders plans within 45 days for resuming visa processing
  • Proclamation declaring a National Day of Unity on Jan. 20, 2021.
  • Memorandum directing the Office of Management and Budget to make recommendations to modernize regulatory processes.
  • Memorandum extending the deferred deportation of Liberians through the end of June 2022.
  • Memorandum to strengthen Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Jan. 21

  • Executive order invokes the Defense Production Act to ramp up supplies including personal protective equipment and accelerate the production of the vaccines and other pandemic related supplies
  • Executive order calling on the secretary of Education to work with elementary and secondary schools on how to reopen and stay open.
  • Executive order calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue guidelines on COVID-19 for workplaces and establish an enforcement program for violations that put workers at risk.
  • Executive order to require mask-wearing on certain modes of transportation and for international travelers to the U.S. to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before traveling.
  • Executive order encouraging the acceleration of the production of treatments for the coronavirus and expansion of access to therapies.
  • Executive order establishing a COVID-19 testing board to increase test supply and bring manufacturing of tests to the U.S.
  • Executive order establishing within Health and Human Services a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.
  • Executive order enhancing data collection and sharing among governmental agencies to strengthen public health infrastructure.
  • Memorandum directing FEMA to cover states’ costs for the National Guard to assist in pandemic response.

Jan. 22

  • Executive order restoring collective bargaining power for federal employees, and directing the Office of Personnel Management to provide recommendations for a $15 minimum wage for federal workers.
  • Executive order promoting assistance from federal agencies to individuals, families, and small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan. 25

  • Executive order reversing the Trump administration policy to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
  • Executive order committing to investing in American companies and closing loopholes “that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences.”
  • Proclamation to suspend the entry of noncitizens to the U.S. who were present in certain regions in the 14 days prior to their attempted entry, including the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa.

Jan. 26

  • Executive order directing the phase-out of private prisons by directing the Department of Justice to halt the renewal of federal contracts with private prisons.
  • Memorandum condemning racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Memorandum directing agencies to mitigate racial bias in federal housing policies.
  • Memorandum recommitting the government to respecting tribal sovereignty.

Jan. 27

  • Executive order elevating climate change as a national security concern and suspend new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and conserve at least 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030.
  • Executive order establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that will advise Biden on “scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.”
  • Memorandum directing the Office of Science and Technology Policy to review agency policies on scientific integrity.

Jan. 28

  • Executive order to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid by directing agencies to review any policies that may hinder access to the ACA and recommending the opening of a three-month enrollment period for uninsured Americans.
  • Memorandum reversing the Trump administration’s “Mexico City Policy” that blocked funding to groups that include abortion services or information in their family-planning programs, and suggesting the reconsideration of policies that “impose undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information.”

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Mona Salama

Mona Salama