After the pomp and ceremony of Wednesday’s inauguration, President Joe Biden quickly got to work and signed 17 executive actions that include 15 executive orders.
A number of the actions are related to the coronavirus pandemic, including a 100-day “mask challenge.” It calls for a mask and social distancing mandate in federal buildings and on federal lands.
Biden also rejoined the World Health Organization and restructured federal response to the pandemic by bringing back the “Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense” within the National Security Council.
“We’re off to a good start,” Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette said.
Biden also rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. It will take 30 days to go into effect.
“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a win for our planet, economy, health, and national security,” Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet said.
“We should have never left the Paris Climate Agreement,” Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper tweeted. “President Biden is already fighting climate change and repairing the damage from the prior administration.”
Biden also signed a few executive orders related to immigration, from stopping border wall construction to ending the travel ban that primarily targeted Muslim-majority and African countries.
“As the son of Eritrean immigrants, the promise and refuge our country has offered to immigrants and refugees for centuries is incredibly personal to me,” Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse said. “I’m incredibly grateful that, as one of his first actions, President Biden will rescind the reckless and cruel Muslim ban policies of the Trump administration. America is a nation of immigrants, and it is vital that our values and our actions reflect this.”
The new president also took measures to safeguard the country’s so-called “Dreamers” through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, helping more than 640,000 undocumented immigrations who were brought to the U.S. as children.
“It is time for a new era for our nation’s immigrants, one that offers certainty, stability and the chance for them to go to school, go to work, and thrive in our communities without fear of deportation,” Neguse said. “It’s now Congress’s job to act to pass a permanent solution.”
But Congress has struggled to come to a bipartisan agreement to protect Dreamers or reform immigration.
Not everyone in Colorado’s congressional delegation applauded the orders. Republican Rep. Ken Buck tweeted that Biden’s “liberal agenda” will weaken the country.
“President Biden called for unity this afternoon, but his first actions in office say otherwise,” Buck said.
As examples, he pointed to the Keystone XL pipeline, Paris Climate Agreement and immigration plans.
Biden also reversed Trump’s order from July 2020 that excluded anyone who’s undocumented from being counted in the U.S. Census. Biden also moved to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums and continue a pause on student loan payments through September.
Vice President Kamala Harris also returned to her old stomping grounds to do some work in the U.S. Senate. She swore in three new Democratic Senators, including her own replacement in California
The Senate, now controlled by Democrats, also voted on the first of Biden’s nominations. Avril Haines was confirmed as the director of national intelligence in an 84-10 vote.