Biden Signs 17 Executive Orders on His First Day in Office

Sarah Khan, Staff Writer

President Biden issued a staggering 17 executive orders on his first day in office. While some of the executive orders addressed issues that had been previously ignored, nine of them were direct reversals of actions that were taken by former President Trump. 

The President hoped that these orders will work to reverse harmful Trump policies and set the stage for his presidency. Among these executive orders included actions that dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration, and the environment.

The President signed several executive orders related to the pandemic. Most notably, he mandated that masks must be worn in all federal buildings and encouraged state and local governments to follow suit. This ties into his “100 Day Masking Challenge” which calls for Americans to mask up for the next 100 days to curb the spread of the virus. 

He additionally created the position of COVID-19 Response Coordinator to manage the pandemic and reversed Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization, naming Dr. Anthony Fauci as the head of the American delegation to the WHO.

In addition, Biden signed orders to address the economy. He extended the pause on student loan payments and interest until September 30. He went on to extend the pause on evictions and foreclosures at least until the end of March. Through these actions, Biden hopes to help the millions of middle class Americans struggling to get by due to the extensive economic upheaval caused by the pandemic.

Biden held true to his promise to address environmental problems and rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. The president also canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and ordered a review of over 100 environmental actions taken by the Trump administration.

The President passed 6 executive orders concerning the census and immigration. In these orders, he directed the national census to include non-citizens, strengthened DACA which Trump previously attempted to undermine and weaken, and reversed the Muslim ban. Furthermore, Biden undid Trump’s plan to expand immigration enforcement and halted the construction of the border wall.

President Biden addressed equity in the country, rescinding Trump’s 1776 Commission and signing an order preventing discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Biden signed a few other executive orders regarding ethics and regulation, including one such action which ordered all executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge which prevents them from acting in their own personal interest. 

Disregarding whether Americans support these executive actions or not, it is clear that they indicate a distinct change in message from the new administration and give us a glimpse of what can be expected in the upcoming four years.