Joe Biden isn’t wasting time. On his first day in office, the newly inaugurated US president signed 17 executive actions. It’s not unprecedented for world leaders to get to work on day one, but the number of directives on Biden’s desk is much higher than usual. It took his recent predecessors weeks to sign 17 executive orders. Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton signed four executive orders or memos on their first day—combined.
Biden’s executive orders vs Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton
The orders are wide ranging, including directives to reverse the “Muslim travel ban,” rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Agreement, stopping construction on the border wall, and ending the Keystone XL pipeline. Many were clearly aimed at overturning Trump’s decisions.
All of Joe Biden’s day-one executive actions
- An executive order requiring that people wear masks, and keep their distance from each other, on federal property.
- The launch of a “100 Days Masking Challenge” to encourage Americans to wear masks.
- The reversal of Trump’s decision to remove the US from the World Health Organization.
- An executive order that creates the position of Covid-19 response coordinator and restores the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, a team in charge of pandemic response, within the National Security Council.
- Calls to Congress to extend Covid-19 aid, and requests to various departments to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums and pause payments for federal loans.
- An “instrument” that will allow the US to re-join the Paris Agreement on climate change within 30 days.
- An executive order reversing actions Trump took that Biden’s agencies judge to have been harmful to the environment, public health, or the national interest, and asking agencies to revise these standards to tackle climate change.
- An executive order with the aim of “embedding equity across federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism and other barriers to opportunity from federal programs and institutions.” This order will also disband the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission.
- An executive order reversing a Trump administration order that excluded undocumented immigrants from the Census.
- A memorandum directing officials to “preserve and fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
- An executive action repealing two proclamations, informally known as the “Muslim ban.” that restricted entry into the US from majority-Muslim countries.
- An executive order revoking Trump’s “harsh and extreme immigration enforcement” and directing agencies to set immigration policies more “in line” with the Biden administration’s “values and priorities.”
- A proclamation that will pause the construction of the border wall with Mexico and determine how to best divert those funds elsewhere.
- A memorandum to extend a designation allowing Liberians who have been in the US for a long time to stay.
- An executive order directing the government to interpret the Civil Rights Act as prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, not just race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
- An executive order enacting new ethics rules for government officials.
- An executive order reversing “regulatory process executive orders” enacted by the Trump administration.