Are You Ready For Biden’s America?

Dear Rich Lifer,

Joe Biden was sworn in yesterday as the 46th President of the United States, and he wasted no time getting to work.

After a smaller, socially distanced inauguration ceremony due to Covid-19, Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations. These actions range from reversing anti-immigration policy to bolstering the economy.

President Biden’s actions signal that his work would begin immediately. As he signed his stack of orders, he told reporters, “There’s no time to start like today. I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

So today we will also begin our work by breaking down all 17 of the executive orders. Read on…

COVID-19 Response

As it is the most pressing and unprecedented matter facing us today, Biden began by signing the “100 Days Masking Challenge” which calls for a nationwide face mask and social distance mandate in federal buildings, on federal land, and by federal employees and contractors.

Note: this is not a national mask mandate, but Biden is urging all Americans to wear masks and for state and local officials to implement measures to help curb the spread of the virus.

His second Covid-19 related order was to restructure the federal government’s coordination to the pandemic by reinstating the position of “Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense” at the National Security Council. Trump had disbanded this Obama-era position.

Biden appointed Jeffrey Zients as the official Covid-19 response coordinator who will report to the president on vaccine, testing and personal protective equipment production, supply, and distribution.

His final action regarding the pandemic was to Rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), which the Trump administration was in the process of leaving. Dr. Anthony Fauci will become the head of the delegation to the WHO.

Financial Relief

President Biden will extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until March 31st. He has also called on the Departments of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development to prolong a moratorium on foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages that was enacted in response to the pandemic.

He is also extending the “pause” on student loan payments until September 30. Biden’s advisors continue to insist that he will support canceling $10,000 of student loans but this will take time to get Congressional approval.

Environment

President Biden swiftly acted to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. In 2019, Trump formally notified the United Nations that the U.S. would withdraw from the coalition of 189 countries officially working to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels. This order will take 30 days to go into effect.

Another big environmental order was Biden’s move to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, effectively nixing the pipeline. President Biden also directed agencies to review and reverse over 100 harmful Trump actions related to the environment.

This includes reversing the rollbacks to vehicle emissions standards; undoing decisions to slash the size of several national monuments; enforcing a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and re-establishing a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses.

Human Rights

A few of Biden’s executive actions move to advance racial equality through the federal government. Specifically, Biden will end the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, whose overall goal was to analyze Trump’s concern that the American education system was taking a too liberal approach to American history.

Susan Rice, incoming head of the Domestic Policy Council, has been designated as the leader of a “robust, interagency” effort requiring all federal agencies to make “rooting out systemic racism” central to their work.

His order directs the agencies to review and report on equity in their ranks within 200 days and to come up with a plan to remove barriers to opportunities in policies and programs.

The order goes further to ensure that Americans of all backgrounds have equal access to federal government resources, benefits and services and starts a data working group as well as the study of new methods to measure and assess federal equity and diversity efforts.

Biden also secured LGBTQ rights by reinforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that requires the federal government to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Immigration

Multiple executive orders set out to reverse Trump era immigration policies. In one, Biden ended the “Muslim Travel Ban” which riestricted travel and immigration to the U.S. from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, (and later) Eritrea, Nigeria, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, and Tanzania. The State Department has been instructed to restart visa applications for these countries.

Biden also changed Trump’s arrest priorities for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which made interior immigration enforcement much stricter.

Biden continues to deal blows to Trump’s legacy by halting construction of the border wall with Mexico. The order includes an “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration that allowed the Trump administration to redirect billions of dollars to the wall.

The list goes on and on. Other actions include:

Defending the “Dreamers” program for undocumented young Americans by calling on Congress to enact legislation granting permanent status and a path to citizenship to Dreamers.

Keeping protections for a group of Liberians in the country by extending deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a safe haven in the United States until June 30, 2022

Counting non-citizens in the U.S. Census again, reversing Trump’s order in July 2020 to not count undocumented Americans, which would affect federal allocation of money and federal representation.

Regulation and Ethics

We have finally reached the last two executive orders of Biden’s busy first day as President.

Biden will require every executive branch appointee to sign an ethics pledge which demands federal employees promise “to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice.” The aim of this order is to “to restore and maintain trust in the government.”

And finally, President Biden is issuing a freeze on all last-minute regulations put in motion by Trump to give his administration time to evaluate which ones it wants to move forward. The point of this memorandum is to prevent “midnight regulation” policies pushed through by a lame-duck president. Such policies are usually unconstrained by the electoral process and fail to give the public or industries time to review the policies.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki gave a heads up in her first press conference Wednesday to look out for even more executive actions in the coming weeks that may include, “revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing the Mexico City policy.”

So stay tuned for even more updates!

To a Richer Life,

The Rich Life Roadmap Team

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