The wave of executive action will unfold in the first 10 days of Biden, according to new administrators. If the plan develops as expected, the number, scope, and impact of the new president’s early steps would exceed those of his three most recent predecessors.
“On Inauguration Day, President-elect Biden will sign about a dozen actions,” the new White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain wrote in a memo to senior executives last week. “Although the political goals of these executive actions are courageous, I want to make it clear: The underlying legal theory is well founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the president.”
Neither Barack Obama nor George W. Bush signed any executive orders or other presidential directives on their first day at work. Obama signed eleven executive acts in his first week, while Bush did none, according to the Federal Register.
“We will act. On the first day we will act to get COVID under control, ”said Biden in November before election day.
Aides to the President-elect say unprecedented and urgent action is warranted in the face of four simultaneous national crises: the pandemic, a historic recession, climate change and deep racial inequality.
“We get to work on the first day. We’re going to reverse Trump’s rollbacks of 100 health and environmental regulations, ”Biden said of his plans in July.
One of the first Biden orders will be a nationwide mask mandate for all federal property and interstate travel that will last 100 days, aides say.
“Federal buildings, interstate travel on airplanes, trains and buses,” Biden said in December of where it should be enforced. “Only wear a mask for 100 days. It’s the easiest thing you can do to reduce COVID cases, hospital stays, and deaths.
As the country’s testing and vaccination system continues to stall, Biden also plans to immediately activate emergency resources to set up thousands of vaccination centers in the community.
“On my first day in office, I will instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin setting up the first of these centers,” the President-elect said last week.
Klain said Biden will also come up with new, consistent federal guidelines for safely reopening schools and businesses by “setting clear standards for public health.”
In light of the widespread financial distress caused by the pandemic, the government plans to quickly extend a federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, as well as a suspension of the Department of Education’s federal debt payments on student loans.
A number of measures will fundamentally change the government’s approach to immigration.
Biden will immediately end the national declaration of emergency on the southern border, freeze the rebuilding of the wall, and stop using Pentagon funds to pay for it.
He will re-approve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented young immigrants; pause all deportations; and lift a travel ban for visitors from 13 predominantly Muslim countries, Klain said in the memo.
“On the first day, I will end Trump’s unconstitutional ban on Muslims. I will urge Congress to pass hate crime laws, ”Biden said in October.
Two years after Trump ended controversial child segregation policies on the border, Biden has also vowed to create a task force to reunite hundreds of children and parents and help heal still broken families.
“I set up a special commission immediately on the first day,” said Biden at the end of last year.
Sources say President Biden will reaffirm global alliances such as NATO and the United Nations on day one, which Trump openly criticized. He plans to immediately reinstate America in the World Health Organization and re-sign the Paris Climate Agreement.
In terms of civil rights, Biden will restore the protections for transgender Americans that Trump withdrew from healthcare, education and the military.
Some of Biden’s biggest campaign promises won’t come quickly or easily.
New gun controls, the abolition of the 2017 Trump tax cuts, the waiver of student loans, and a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants must be approved by a tightly divided Congress.
Biden says he will table a comprehensive bill on immigration reform in Congress on Wednesday.
“The Democrats only control the Senate 50-50, with the tie going to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. So the question of whether they can do anything they want is in the air. In fact, they probably can’t do everything they want, ”said Nathaniel Rakich, Election Analyst at FiveThirtyEight.
And first of all, Biden needs his Senate-approved candidates for the cabinet. The confirmation process is already lagging behind, delayed by runoff elections in Georgia and a handover of party control to the Democrats.
Biden will likely be the first president in decades not to confirm any of his cabinet elections on the first day. The Senate confirmed Trump’s defense and homeland security ministers on his first day in office; Obama saw seven of his cabinet picks installed on inauguration day.
“President-elect Biden will really work to turn the division and hatred of the past four years on its head and really outline a positive, optimistic vision for the country and lay a path to propose a path that will move forward on us all to work together, “said Kate Bedingfield, the new White House communications director, on ABC’s This Week of Biden’s inaugural message.
Following his inaugural address, Biden will take a symbolic step to set a new tone and join the Obamas, Bushes and Clintons in homage at Arlington National Cemetery.
Biden’s first day as president will begin with a greeting to the services and sacrifices that make this country great before he quickly moves to an ambitious agenda for his first term.