Executive power shifted from Republican to Democratic as President Joe Biden officially took office on Wednesday, January 22nd. The final outcome of the presidential election was 306 votes in comparison to Donald Trump’s 232 votes. Biden wasted no time once getting in office as a total of 17 executive orders were signed during his first 24 hours. The series of executive orders he sent into action reflect the fact that there has officially been a transition of power and that his presidency will focus on radically different principles and priorities than that of his predecessor.
Three of Biden’s executive orders were focused solely on the coronavirus. As Donald Trump refused to develop a federal plan to fight the pandemic, leaving this task to state governments, this presents itself as the biggest challenge to Biden and his administration. The orders are intended to make changes to the way the country as a whole responds to the pandemic. One of the executive orders called for a nationwide social distancing and mask wearing mandate for all federal buildings and land, and for all federal employees and contractors. His orders also include new mask mandates for those that are traveling on planes, trains, and busses and require international travelers to quarantine once landing in the United States. Another order set up an entire COVID office that will report directly to Biden. The office will be led by Jeff Zients and will coordinate with state governments in regard to increasing the number of vaccinations that are being delivered. The office will also ramp up the distribution of masks and gloves and focus on expanding testing facilities.
Two other executive orders signed by President Biden will push the United States to rejoin the Paris climate accords and will cancel Trump’s efforts to withdraw from the World Health Organization. The President seeks to reinstate the United States as one of the leaders of the World Health Organization. As far as the Paris climate accords, Biden sent the United Nations a letter that will make the country party to the agreement once again in less than a month. This pact seeks to cut down on the amount of greenhouse emissions emitted in all countries.
Other orders include instructing the Education Department to immediately freeze interest and monthly payments on the majority of student loans until September 30, terminating the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission which sought to push a more conservative history curriculum in U.S. schools, and the cancelation of Trump’s executive order that expanded the categories immigration officials used to determine who they should try to detain and deport.
These are only some of the executive orders signed by the President during his first 24 hours in office. The orders that Biden’s administration has implemented is just a glimpse into the agenda he is planning to push during his presidency. The President wants to undo a great majority of what his predecessor spent his entire term putting into place. Are these executive orders pushing the country in the right direction?