(Featured image via whitehouse.gov)
It has been a little over a month since Joe Biden became the nation’s 46th President. Since taking office, President Biden has signed 31 executive orders, rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, and has sent multiple pieces of legislation to Congress. Here is what the President has done thus far.
In his executive orders that are directed toward COVID-19, Biden has created positions within the White House for people to advise him on the virus. In addition to this, Biden has instructed all federal agencies to tackle issues related to the pandemic and review orders given in the past four years that could hold up the process of responding to COVID-19. Through multiple other executive orders, Biden issued a mask mandate on federal property, ramped up COVID-19 testing, supported the reopening of schools and has committed to making sure all Americans can get the COVID-19 vaccine quickly and free of charge. Of Biden’s 31 executive orders, about a dozen were aimed toward COVID-19.
In addition to his executive orders, President Biden sent over to Congress a $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill. That bill would give most American’s another $1,400 stimulus check, provide aid to states, small businesses and help ramp up vaccine production and COVID-19 testing. The bill would need bipartisan support to pass the senate in its traditional route. Republicans argue, among other things, that the threshold for those who receive the checks is too high. This is a place where President Biden has said he is willing to negotiate. It is possible that if Republicans and Democrats can’t come to agreement on the stimulus package, Democrats may use a process known as “reconciliation” to pass the bill with a simple majority.
Biden has signed multiple executive actions that address immigration and the causes of immigration. Biden has committed to working with outside groups in an effort to address the causes of migration from South and Central America. He created a task force whose purpose is to help reunite families who had been separated at the border. Biden also revived the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program back to its Obama-era strength. He has also instructed federal agencies to rebuild and enhance programs that settle refugees; in the same stroke of his pen, Biden also told federal agencies to prepare for the possibility of mass migration due to climate change.
Biden also introduced to Congress the U.S Citizenship Act of 2021. The act would allow undocumented immigrants who are already in the country to apply for temporary legal status and eventually green cards. It would also create a fast track to citizenship for DREAMers (The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) and some other groups of immigrants who are already in the U.S.
Biden signed multiple executive orders aimed at attacking climate change in the U.S. He also created the position of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. That position is currently held by John Kerry. Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accord which is a global agreement that aims to lower global CO2 emissions and prevent climate change. Biden has made a big change from the past administration which often denied the severity of climate change.
Biden also shut down construction of the Keystone Pipeline XL. This decision caused much controversy. The decision was made because of the impact construction has already had on Native American Reservations and surrounding areas. Reports of water contamination, damage to sacred sites and other environmental issues. The pipeline was estimated to create thousands of temporary construction jobs. Most of those workers had yet to start working. After construction, the pipeline was only estimated to create 35 permanent jobs. While the Keystone Pipeline could have affected gas prices in the future, Biden’s decision to halt its construction is not contributing to the current rise in gas prices. That is caused by the fluctuation of demand, and the recovery process of oil production.
President Biden has signed multiple executive orders to address issues important to the LGBTQ+ community. Biden rescinded Trump’s order that banned transgendered persons from serving in the military. He also signed an order to prevent discrimnation based on sexual orientation or gender.
President Biden has demanded that the federal government stop issuing contracts for privatized prisons. Privatized prisons have long been criticized for having prisoner quotas and benefiting from high incarceration rates. This leaves prisons with no incentive to rehabilitate prisoners.
Biden has also signed executive orders to promote racial equity throughout the federal government. His most recent executive order aims to promote relationships between government and faith-based organizations. He also put a revise order on all actions taken by the Trump administration in its final days. This has caused some controversy as it has slowed down the implementation of an order that would have driven down the cost of insulin. While this was not the goal of Biden’s order to revise last minute orders given by Trump, it was a consequence of the order.