• Isabella Jabbour

Joe Biden’s First Days as President and What to Expect

Joseph R. Biden Jr. ascends to the White House during a time of extraordinary crisis. Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, January 20th, in a down-sized Inauguration ceremony where masks and social distancing were heavily enforced. "This is America's day," President Biden said during his inaugural speech, "This is democracy's day." That same day, moving with extreme urgency, Biden made a flurry of key decisions and signed seventeen executive orders, memos, and proclamations, including a comprehensive plan to tackle the pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans and erased ten million jobs. He intends to overturn his predecessor's legacy at the federal level.


Towards the end of his inaugural address, Biden identified six predicaments that our country faces: the coronavirus, climate change, racism, increasing inequality, our global position, and the attack on our democracy. "Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once," Biden said. "We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era."


The coronavirus. Biden's first executive order mandated masks to be worn on federal property and by federal employees and contractors. He initiated the "100 Day Mask Challenge," encouraging Americans to wear masks to prevent this virus's spread while urging local and state officials to implement more measures.


However, one question needs to be answered: how will Biden convince more Republicans to wear masks?

However, one question needs to be answered: how will Biden convince more Republicans to wear masks? Biden halted the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization, a United Nations Agency responsible for international public health, ending the Trump administration's distancing from the global collaboration. He also signed an additional order that brings back a White House position, the Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense, designed to facilitate the government's response to the coronavirus. In 2014, the Obama administration created this National Security Council position in response to the Ebola epidemic, which helped to advance efforts against the virus more efficiently.

The administration proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan and a seven-point plan to tackle the pandemic. First, Biden will implement mask mandates throughout the nation, collaborating with mayors and governors while encouraging individual Americans to wear masks. President Biden plans to double the number of drive-through testing sites, invest in at-home instant testing, and recruit 100,000 contact tracers.


Next, he will drastically increase personal protective equipment production to fix a persistent problem for the future. The federal government will provide clear public health guidance from the CDC and emergency funding for local and state schools, governments, and businesses. The administration intends to allocate COVID-19 treatments and vaccines while shielding the elderly and those at high-risk for the virus. Lastly, Biden wants to expand our country's protection against future pandemics.


As for pandemic relief, he extended a pause on student loan payments and extended a Trump era eviction moratorium for those who have fallen behind on paying rent due to unemployment or reduced wages during the pandemic.

As for pandemic relief, he extended a pause on student loan payments and extended a Trump era eviction moratorium for those who have fallen behind on paying rent due to unemployment or reduced wages during the pandemic. He will continue to sign executive actions to support schools and businesses opening safely, to increase testing, and most importantly, speed up the production of COVID-19 vaccines.


President Biden promised to roll out 100 million vaccines to Americans by his 100th day in office. He acknowledged the difficult road ahead in his inaugural speech, but is confident in a brighter future for America. "My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we're going to need each other… We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We're entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation."


Biden also mentioned two executive orders on climate change. The first meant that the US rejoined the landmark Paris climate agreement. Although the process will take a few more weeks and doesn't institute any new, permanent regulations, this action symbolizes a new approach to climate change. Biden has committed to making climate change a primary focus during his presidency, which was further evidenced by his decision to revoke the Keystone XL Pipeline's construction permit, which would transfer crude oil from Canada to Illinois.


"We're going to combat climate change in a way we have not before," Biden said before signing the executive orders. "They are just executive actions. They are important but we're going to need legislation for a lot of the things we're going to do." These actions taken in his first few hours as president suggest that the Biden Administration will go beyond revoking Trump's policies to curb the use of greenhouse gases. The Trump administration passed at least 64 guidelines weakening or overturning rulings that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emission, both of which contribute to global warming.


He directed federal agencies to remove any discriminatory policies.

Congressional legislation is necessary to effectively combat economic and racial inequality, but Biden took some early efforts on his first day in office. He directed federal agencies to remove any discriminatory policies. "A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us," Biden said during his inauguration. "The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer." Biden also issued a repudiation of white supremacy, which followed months of civil unrest and protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Preident Biden warned generally of "a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat."


Biden also seeks to reverse Trump-era immigration policies. On his first day in the oval office, he took significant steps by revoking an executive order that targeted undocumented immigrants for arrest and conveyed a proposal to Congress. In this comprehensive proposal, eleven million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S. would be on the path to citizenship, while the Biden administration would provide foreign aid to Central America. After four years of a restrictive and sometimes harsh immigration policy, he promised that he would "restore humanity and American values to our immigration system."


The U.S Citizenship Act of 2021, if passed, would become the most inclusive reform on immigration since President Ronald Reagan. This bill would allow for an eight-year path towards citizenship for the above-mentioned 11 million undocumented immigrants while making it easier for family-based immigration and protecting laborers who face unfair treatment in the workplace due to their immigration status. It also promises to invest in border security, such as screening technologies that can detect drug smuggling or other criminal activities. Biden's immigration plan addresses the underlying issue of immigration from Central America, providing a $4 billion program to aid El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to mitigate poverty, crimes, and the other conditions that propel people to flee these countries in the first place. Lastly, the bill would reduce the accumulation of immigration courts and improve the asylum system.


In his speech, Biden underlined the importance of democracy and truth in our country, calling for unity.

In his speech, Biden underlined the importance of democracy and truth in our country, calling for unity. "That's democracy. That's America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation's greatest strength," Biden said. "And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans." Biden called for the end of the “uncivil war” between conservatives and liberals and red and blue regions because, to accomplish anything, Americans have to work together. He also signaled stress on improving America's image on a global scale. On that score, Biden immediately repealed a ban Trump imposed in 2017 restricting passport holders from numerous Muslim-majority countries such as Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen from setting foot in America.


President Biden has surely crafted an ambitious agency. Particularly for his intent to unify the country, all Americans should bid him and his administration good luck.


"That's democracy. That's America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation's greatest strength," Biden said. "And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans."