January 20, 2021

Wasting No Time: Biden Signs 17 Executive Orders on First Day

  • Executive, Horse Race

By: Amy Jo Underwood

In Brief:

President Joe Biden signed seventeen executive orders on his first day in office, just hours after being sworn in. Biden plans to overturn much of Trump’s policies in the first ten days of his administration. Among his actions will be a “100 Days Masking Challenge,” halting the exit of the U.S. from the World Health Organization, returning to the Paris Climate Accord, discontinuing funding for the border wall, and providing US funding for abortion overseas. 

The Background:

President Joe Biden swiftly took action on his first day in office, signing seventeen executive orders and memoranda mere hours after being sworn into office. According to the Associated Press, within the first few hours, Biden halted the construction of Trump’s US-Mexico border wall, took action to begin the process of rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, announced intentions of rejoining the World Health Organization, reversed the ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, revoked the 1776 Comission that promoted patriotic civics education, and provided new protection for the DACA program.  Biden also began the “100 Days Masking Challenge,” and mandated that masks be worn on federal property as well as interstate travel. 

Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that Biden plans to immediately overturn much of Trump’s policies in the next ten days, with specific focuses on each day. According to CNN, Biden’s agenda for the first full day will be action regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and environmental issues.  Further actions will include revoking a ban on transgender military members, and reversing the Mexico City policy that prohibits U.S. funding for programs overseas that promote and fund abortions. 

Notable Quotes:

“I thought with the state of the nation today, there’s no time to waste. Get to work immediately. There’s no time to start like today.

… Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the Covid crisis, we’re going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far, and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities. These are just starting points.” - President Joe Biden

“In the coming days and weeks, we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the president-elect’s promises to the American people.” - Press Secretary Jen Psaki

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