Joe Biden preparing blizzard of executive orders for first days in office

David Millward
·3-min read
US President-elect Joe Biden arrives at the Queen theatre in Delaware
US President-elect Joe Biden arrives at the Queen theatre in Delaware

Joe Biden aims to hit the ground running with a blizzard of executive orders on his first day in office.

Mr Biden plans to rejoin the Paris climate accord, end Donald Trump’s travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries and order masks to be worn in federal buildings.

The orders will represent the opening salvo of a flurry of activity over the first 10 days of the Biden administration, aimed at rolling back many of the policies introduced by Donald Trump.

Mr Biden intends to introduce legislation for a $1.9 trillion relief package and immigration reform.

His ambitious programme was outlined in a memorandum circulated on Saturday by Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff.

"During the campaign, President-elect Biden pledged to take immediate action to start addressing these crises and build back better," Mr Klain wrote.

"As president, he will keep those promises and sign dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies in fulfilment of the promises he made."

The 78-year-old incoming president will assume office with the country reeling from the coronavirus pandemic which has already claimed more than 395,000 lives and devastated the economy with 7.3 million people looking for work.

A wave of lockdowns as the pandemic surged in recent months has seen millions more struggling as their working hours have been cut.

US President-elect Joe Biden introduces nominees for his science team earlier this week  - AFP/AFP
US President-elect Joe Biden introduces nominees for his science team earlier this week - AFP/AFP

Tackling the pandemic and breathing life into the flagging economy will be top priorities for the incoming administration.

The day after the inauguration Mr Klain wrote, the president will “sign a number of executive actions to move aggressively to change the course of the Covid-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards."

Mr Biden has pledged to turbocharge the country’s vaccination strategy, aiming to inoculate 100 million people in his first hundred days in office.

The Trump administration has come under fire for the slow rollout of the inoculation programme under its “Operation Warp Speed”, with states accuse the federal government of failing to deliver the quantities of vaccine they had been promised.

“We’re inheriting a huge mess here, but we plan to fix it,” Mr Klain said yesterday (Sunday for web) on CNN’s State of the Union.

Mr Biden will increase the supply of vaccine by invoking the Defence Production Act. The incoming president has also said he will ask Congress for $415 billion in emergency spending to cover the cost of increased production, a ramped-up testing programme and a larger network of inoculation sites.

Mr Biden’s sweeping changes will continue with the incoming president unveiling proposals for criminal justice reform and issuing a directive to reunite families who were separated at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration.

He will also take steps to ease the financial pain felt by Americans by ordering a pause on student loan repayments and taking steps to stop being thrown onto the street by evictions or having their homes repossessed.