Federal Update: President Biden Issues Executive Orders and Actions as Democrats Gain Control of the U.S. Congress and White House
On Wednesday, as three new Democrats were sworn-in to the U.S Senate giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and the White House for the first time in a decade, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Kamala D. Harris were sworn-in as President and Vice President of the United States. On the first day of the new administration, President Biden signed 17 executive orders and actions. More are expected, and we will continue to share those, as well as other announcements from the new administration and U.S. Congress, that impact Maine’s economy and business community. A summary of President Biden’s orders, actions and directives to date include:
President Biden is directing the U.S. government to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), reversing former President Trump’s order earlier this year withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO.
President Biden is requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal government properties and lands. He also is challenging all Americans to wear a mask for the next 100 days.
President Biden is directing agencies to use the Defense Production Act to address shortfalls in critical COVID-19 supplies.
According to a Maine Public article, President Biden also will direct FEMA to reimburse states for vaccination and testing supplies and more, establish the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board to boost testing, will issue orders requiring travelers to wear masks on planes and buses and in airports, and require travelers to show a negative COVID-19 test before flying to the U.S. Maine Public also reports Biden plans to:
These actions are in addition to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package announced last week that includes $1,400 stimulus payments, extended unemployment benefits, small business grants, a $15 minimum wage, and more.
President Biden has signed an order reentering the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement.
President Biden has indicated he will review the status of rollbacks of national monuments instituted by former President Trump. According to the Bangor Daily News, the review includes the rollback of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the Gulf of Maine established by former President Barack Obama. Trump’s rollback had opened the area to commercial fishing.
Additionally, the Keystone XL pipeline permit has been reversed, a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been issued, and the Biden Administration is reviewing the previous administration’s freeze on vehicle mileage and emissions standards.
President Biden is reversing former President Trump's expansion of immigration enforcement in the U.S.
President Biden has issued an order ending the ban on Muslim travelers to the U.S.
President Biden also is halting construction on the U.S.–Mexico Border Wall.
President Biden’s Cabinet is directed to work to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the president is calling on the U.S. Congress to adopt legislation giving DACA recipients permanent legal status and a path to citizenship, as well as legislation granting green cards and a path to citizenship to anyone in the United States before January 1, 2021.
President Biden is directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop recommendations to modernize regulatory review, undoing the regulatory review process under President Trump.
President Biden has issued orders extending the pause on federal student loan payments through at least Sept. 30, extending the delay on housing foreclosures and evictions through at least March 31, 2021, and has called on the U.S. Congress to extend assistance to renters.
NPR reports that President Biden is expected to “reverse the Trump directive to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census numbers used to reapportion each state's share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes.”
For more details, please visit Maine Public, Bangor Daily News, CNN, PBS, and NPR.