Biden to Push Through Executive Orders, Pursue New Legislation in First 10 Days of Office

Actions will reverse a number of Trump administration policies and issue a mask mandate on federal property, transition team says
January 17, 2021 Updated: January 17, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has laid out the incoming administration’s priorities for its first ten days in office, including several executive actions to reverse President Donald Trump’s policies and the issuing of a mask mandate on federal property.

“In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address … four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world,” according to a memo by Ron Klain, the incoming administration’s chief of staff.

Klain said Biden will focus on combating the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, the resulting economic crisis, as well as addressing climate change and racial injustice issues that the incoming administration argue are most pressing crises in the country.

Biden’s plan will include signing a series of executive orders, starting with an order for the Department of Education to extend the existing pause on student loan repayments and interest for millions of Americans on day one. Biden will also take executive action to rejoin the United Nation’s 2015 Paris climate agreement, from which the United States formally withdrew on Nov. 4, and reverse a travel ban that limited entry into the United States of foreign nationals who were deemed a threat to America.

He will also launch his “100 Day Masking Challenge,” which will require individuals to wear masks on federal property and inter-state travel, in an attempt to curb the number of CCP virus cases. Meanwhile, the president-election will also sign action to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures, which is expected to impact more than 25 million Americans.

Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden speaks as he lays out his plan for combating the coronavirus and jump-starting the nation’s economy at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware on Jan. 14, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On day two, Biden will sign executive actions aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus. Some of these actions would expand testing, establish further public health standards, and address school and business re-opening.

Day three will see department and agency secretaries take action to “deliver economic relief to working families,” the memo says.

Implementing policies to prioritize minority groups in America will also be on Biden’s agenda. He is expected to take “action” in an attempt to advance “equity and support communities of color and other underserved communities,” Klain said.

Earlier this month, Biden announced that his administration plans to prioritize minorities for access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild amid the pandemic. The plan would prioritize “black, Latino, Asian, and Native American-owned small businesses, and women-owned businesses.”

His statements were heavily scrutinized, with critics arguing that it would fuel divisiveness nationwide.

Biden’s plan would also include plans to reform the criminal justice system, policies to strengthen his “Buy American” vision, climate change, health care, and immigration.

During his campaign, Biden had vowed that he would send a bill to Congress to create “a clear roadmap to citizenship” for some 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States and permanent protections for illegal immigrants that arrived in the United States at a young age and are placed on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as “dreamers.”

The DACA program was created by former President Barrack Obama, when Biden was vice president. The program provides amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as minors and prevents them from being deported. Obama has been criticized for implementing a program that he did not have the authority to sign but proceeded anyway.

DACA recipients protest outside Supreme Court
DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, on June 18, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Prior to signing the executive order to implement the program in 2012, Obama acknowledged that he lacked the constitutional and legal authority to create the immigration program. According to the Heritage Foundation, Obama declared in 2010 that “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself,” while responding to demands to implement immigration reforms.

Then in 2011, he said, “[with] respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.”

Later that year, Obama said he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the [immigration] law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.” But in 2012, he proceeded with the move by executive action.

For years, Congress has failed to come to an agreement on an immigration bill to address the DACA issue.

Trump, who had challenged the constitutionality of the DACA program, had pushed for a bipartisan bill that would “benefit all.” Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration failed to follow the law when it tried to rescind the DACA program, which was never authorized by Congress.

The memo states that Biden will present an immigration bill to Congress on his first day in office. Other legislative proposals include creating millions of union jobs, implementing a minimum wage, combatting violence against women, and legislation related to voting rights.

“As noted above, this list is not comprehensive. More items and more details will be forthcoming in the days ahead,” Klain said in his memo.

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