Joe Biden has been sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States. His administration wasted no time seeking to overturn the policies of his predecessor and to put his new stamp on the next four years.
In a matter of hours, executive orders, actions and policy statements were unveiled on a wide range of matters, including climate change policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), advancing racial justice and pausing student loan payments.
One of Biden’s initial actions was re-signing the Paris Climate Agreement, a non-binding accord that former President Trump pulled out of with much fanfare in June 2017. One of the Paris agreement’s most agressive goals is zero global net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The prior administration estimated adherence to the agreement would cost the United States $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs. The Heritage Foundation assessed that the accord would cost $20,000 per family.
The Biden administration’s marked agenda of environmental activism is leading to more executive actions. The president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline permit, costing thousands of jobs, potentially triggering lawsuits, and providing openings to China and Russia in the global energy market.
On immigration, the Biden presidency immediately targeted the previous Trump administration’s unsuccessful attempt to revoke DACA, which was controversially instituted under former President Barack Obama.
The Biden presidency also put an end to the Trump presidency’s attempt to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of migrants in caravans are approaching Mexico from Honduras and Guatemala and are seeking residency in the United States.
Critically, the Biden administration has also issued guidance for the decennial census to count “persons in each State,” clearly including anyone who resides in the state, whether legally or illegally. The U.S. census is the basis for House representational apportionment. The prior Trump administration had sought to exclude illegal immigrants from being counted.
In addition, the Biden administration has ended the so-called “Muslim travel ban,” claiming that the restiction of travel from six countries with a combination of poor identification regimes and high terrorism rates is tantamount to “religious discrimination.” There are dozens of majority Muslim nations around the world that were not listed in the restricted travel regime.
At the same time, the Biden administration has blocked the prior Trump administration’s proposal to lift a travel ban for Europe and Brazil that was in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden is also taking on one of his administration’s most pressing challenges: Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The president issued a mask mandate for federal workers, as well as those entering federal buildings and lands. The move comes at a time when U.S. deaths are estimated to have reached 400,000 citizens; albeit as vaccine distribution continues to proceed in many states.
The Biden presidency is also taking decisive actions to counter what it claims is widespread racial discrimination. The administration is directing agencies to drill down on more racial, ethnic and gender data in order to distribute various federal benefits and implement new initiatives accordingly.
President Biden has begun his term by wielding executive power in a fashion far outpacing the Trump administration and even the Obama administration.
“Mr. Biden signed 15 executive orders and two executive actions on his first day in office, far more than any of his modern predecessors, none of whom signed more than one,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.