Biden Signs Executive Orders on Face-Mask Mandate, Keystone Pipeline, Paris Accord

WASHINGTON – President Biden took a number of executive actions on his first day in office, including implementing a national mask mandate for federal real estate, revoking a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and lifting a travel ban from several predominantly Muslim and African countries, said.

After Mr Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President in a midday ceremony, the measures are set to signal a more aggressive approach to the coronavirus pandemic and end some of President Trump’s key actions as the agenda for the next four years is set.

In the late afternoon, Mr. Biden signed Executive Orders from the Oval Office.

“I thought we don’t have time to wait. Get to work right away, ”he told reporters at the Resolute desk wearing a mask.

President Joe Biden signed 15 executive orders and two executive acts after his inauguration in the White House.


Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Mr. Biden signed 15 executive orders and two executive actions on his first day in office, far more than any of his modern-day predecessors, none of which signed more than one. President Trump signed an order to reverse the Affordable Care Act on his inaugural day, while Barack Obama did not sign one on Jan. 20, 2009. Bill Clinton signed an ethics warrant on his first day. All of them signed additional orders in their first week of office.

Mr Biden’s orders concern national and international affairs, including ending Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization and resuming the Paris Climate Agreement. “These are two early steps in moving the president’s drive back to global engagement,” said new national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Re-entering the Paris Pact would be just a first step in Mr Biden’s sweeping effort to make climate change a crisis that is a top priority for his administration. He orders executive agencies to review 103 Trump-era actions related to the environment and public health. This is a possible reversal of Mr Trump’s efforts to liberalize in ways that has helped fossil fuel companies and other heavy industry sectors.

Biden’s efforts are aimed at automakers and equipment manufacturers with stricter efficiency requirements, as well as oil and gas companies with new restrictions on access to federal monuments and nature reserves. Mr Biden’s orders will direct the agencies reviewing these guidelines to focus on better protecting consumers and promoting union employment in addition to tackling climate change.

The Biden administration is aimed at manufacturers of cars and devices with stricter efficiency requirements.


Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press

Mr. Biden’s “policy from day one has harmed American workers and our economy,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.). “The demolition of the Keystone XL pipeline and re-entry into the Paris Agreement will eliminate well-paying jobs.”

The House Republican Conference said, “The Biden administration has made it clear that on day one it will immediately take care of the far left rather than helping all Americans and moving our country forward.”

But Mr Biden, who campaigned as a centrist and called for national unity on Wednesday, is already facing pressure from his party’s liberal wing to take sharper action on numerous issues, including college costs and health care and health care surroundings . “There are places where it is questionable for me to exercise executive power,” he said during a conversation with opinion columnists in December.

Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) welcomed Mr. Biden’s collaboration on areas of settlement. “If we disagree, I will do so with respect. Public service is a noble calling, and everyone who serves deserves the respect of the American people regardless of political affiliation, ”he said.

The pandemic is the most pressing problem Mr Biden and his team face. On the eve of his inauguration, U.S. deaths hit 400,000. The 100-day mask mandate applies to federal real estate as well as airlines, trains, and transit systems that run between states. However, Mr Biden will direct the government to work with state and local authorities on similar steps.

At the Biden administration’s first press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki asked questions about President Biden’s efforts to combat misinformation and work with Congress on a Covid-19 relief bill, as well as his stance on Donald Trump Impeachment. Photo: Stefani Reynolds / POOL / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Another executive order on Wednesday creates a Covid-19 response office in the White House, led by Jeffrey Zients, Mr Biden’s coronavirus tsar, who will work with federal agencies and report directly to the president. Goals include ensuring more protective equipment for workers, increasing testing and vaccinations, and reopening schools.

Mr Biden also called for the federal eviction moratorium to be extended to at least March 31 and the break in interest and capital payments for direct federal loans until September 30.

Larger measures to expedite vaccine distribution and support the economy, including additional direct payments to many Americans, will require approval from Congress – and Mr Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion Covid aid proposal already has objections from some Republicans as too extensive and expensive.

The so-called Muslim ban was one of Mr Trump’s earliest actions, and Mr Biden campaigned to end it. He will instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to resume visa processing for the affected countries and to swiftly deal with cases of people stuck in a waiver process or visa refusal.

Mr Trump said the ban he was campaigning for was necessary to protect himself from a terrorist risk.

Also on immigration, Mr Biden stopped the construction of the wall along the border with Mexico, one of the guidelines signed by Mr Trump, and considered it a waste of money, although the completed part will remain. He will cancel a national emergency statement that will divert money destined for other uses to the wall. Mr. Biden will also support the Obama-era program to protect younger undocumented immigrants from deportation.

President Biden is stopping the construction of former President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border.


Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

According to official sources, he expanded protections against deportation of Liberians in the United States and reversed Trump’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census used to split up congressional representatives.

Mr Biden formally called on Congress to pass a broader immigration law that would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the US who lack permanent legal status. Such sweeping proposals have hampered previous presidents, and the plan would face great opportunities in the narrowly divided Congress.

Combating racial equality is another early focus of Mr. Biden. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order directing federal agencies to come up with plans to remove obstacles to progress and mandate the Office of Administration and Budget to allocate federal resources to color communities more fairly. The specific language of this policy – or others that Mr. Biden will sign – has not been provided in advance.

“Additional measures in the coming weeks will restore and reinvigorate the federal government’s commitment to diversity, justice, inclusion and accessibility,” said Mr. Biden’s team. These include lifting a ban on members of the transgender service and reversing so-called Mexico City policy, which mandates that foreign nongovernmental groups cannot perform abortions while receiving US funding.

The 100-day mask mandate applies to federal real estate and other locations.


Mike Stocker / TNS / Zuma Press

Write to Alex Leary at [email protected]

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