Presidency of Joe Biden

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Presidency of Joe Biden
January 20, 2021 – present
President Joe Biden
Cabinet See list
Party Democratic
Election 2020
Seat White House
Donald Trump
Seal of the President of the United States.svg
Seal of the President
Official website

The presidency of Joe Biden began at noon EST (17:00 UTC) on January 20, 2021,[1][2] when he was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.

Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election was formalized by the Electoral College on December 14, 2020. During the certification of the Electoral College vote by a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building, delaying the final certification until 3:44 a.m. on January 7.

2020 presidential election

Biden announced that he would run for president in April 2019, via a video and following two unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008.[3]

On November 7, four days after Election Day, Biden was projected to have defeated the incumbent president Donald Trump, becoming president-elect of the United States.[4] Shortly afterwards, the Trump campaign launched several lawsuits against the results in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Michigan, raising unsubstantiated and disproven claims of widespread voter fraud.[5][6]

Transition period and inauguration

File:President Joe Biden swearing in ceremony.jpg
Inauguration swearing-in ceremony

Two days after becoming the projected winner, Biden announced the formation of a task force, co-chaired by former surgeon general Vivek Murthy, former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler and Yale University's Marcella Nunez-Smith, to advise him on the COVID-19 pandemic during the transition.[7]

On November 11, 2020, Biden chose Ron Klain (who was Biden's chief of staff during his vice-presidency) to be his White House chief of staff.[8]

On November 17, 2020, Biden announced that he had selected Mike Donilon as senior advisor and Steve Ricchetti as counselor.[9] Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who had served as campaign manager for Biden's successful presidential campaign, was named as deputy chief of staff.[10] President-elect Biden planned to announce his first nominees to the Cabinet before Thanksgiving 2020.[11] On November 22, 2020, several news outlets reported that Biden had selected Antony Blinken to be secretary of state, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor.[12][13]

On November 23, 2020, Biden picked John Kerry to be his climate change envoy,[14] Alejandro Mayorkas to be Secretary of Homeland Security and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.[15] Throughout December and January, Biden continued to pick his cabinet members, such as Marty Walsh, the current mayor of Boston, as his secretary of labor pick.

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts as 46th president of the United States, completing the oath of office at 11:49 AM EST, eleven minutes before the legal start of his term.[16]

While administering the oath of office to hundreds of White House officials through video conferencing, Biden called for more civility in politics, saying: "If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. [...] No ifs, ands, or buts."[17]

Domestic policy

File:President Joe Biden signs H.R. 335.jpg
Biden signs his first bill as president, H.R. 335.

On January 22, 2021, Biden signed his first bill.[18] Biden signed H.R. 335 into law providing an exception to a restriction on appointing a Secretary of Defense who, within the past seven years, had been on active duty in the armed forces.[19] The signing of H.R. 335 made it possible for Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Biden's Secretary of Defense. Austin was confirmed by both the Senate and the House that same day, making Austin the first African American Defense Secretary.[20][18]

COVID-19 policy

On January 20, 2021, his first day as president, Biden implemented a federal mask mandate, requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors.[21][22][23] Biden also signed an executive order that stopped the United States' withdrawal from the WHO making Dr. Anthony Fauci the head of the delegation to the WHO.[22] On January 21, the administration released a 200-page document titled "National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness."[24][25] On his second day in office, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up the vaccination process and ensure the availability of glass vials, syringes, and other vaccine supplies at the federal level.[26][27] In justifying his use of the act, Biden said, "And when I say wartime, people kind of look at me like 'wartime?' Well, as I said last night, 400,000 Americans have died. That's more than have died in all of World War II. 400,000. This is a wartime undertaking."[28]

On January 21, 2021, Biden signed 10 executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.[29] In order to meet his vaccination goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, Biden signed an executive order increasing needed supplies.[30][31] Biden signed an order on January 21, 2021 that directed FEMA to offer full reimbursements to states for the cost of using their own National Guard personnel and emergency supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment in schools.[30][32] On January 24, 2021, Biden reinstated a travel ban imposed by previous President Trump on Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and 26 other European countries.[33][34][35] The travel ban prevents non-U.S. Citizens living in the prospective countries from entering the United States.[36] Biden implemented a face mask requirement on nearly all forms of public transportation and inside of transportation hubs; previously, the CDC had recommended that such a policy be enacted but it was blocked by the Trump administration, under which the CDC issued strong, albeit non-binding recommendations for mask use in these settings.[37]

Economic policy

On January 22, 2021, Biden signed an executive order that removed schedule F, overturning a number of Trump's policies that limited the collective bargaining power of federal unions.[38][39][40] Biden's executive order also promotes a $15 minimum wage for federal workers and repeals three executive orders signed by Trump that made the employee discipline process stricter and restricted union representatives' access to office space. As well as promoting a $15 minimum wage, Biden's executive order increases the amount of money going to the families of children who are missing meals because of school closures due to the pandemic by 15%.[41] The repealing of Trump's three executive orders comes as the orders were used to transfer civil servants and career scientists and replace them with employees friendly to the Trump administration.[42]

American Rescue Plan

File:President Joe Biden meets with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.jpg
President Biden meets with Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and other officials to receive an economic briefing and discuss the American Rescue Plan, January 29, 2021

On January 14, 2021, Biden revealed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 strategy titled the American Rescue Plan.[43] The plan includes $1 trillion in direct aid, including $1,400 per-person checks for working Americans, and will provide for direct housing and nutrition assistance, expanding access to safe and reliable childcare and affordable healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, and giving families with kids and childless workers an emergency boost this year.[44][45] It will also expand the eligibility of these checks to adult dependents who have been left out of previous rounds of relief.[44][45][43] The plan additionally includes $440 billion in community support, providing $350 billion of community support to first responders while the rest goes to grants for small businesses and transit agencies; $400 billion for a national vaccination plan and school reopenings; and $10 billion for information technology, modernizing federal cybersecurity infrastructure.[43][45] In her first press briefing, Jen Psaki, the Biden Administration's press secretary, said that the plan was likely to change.[46]

The plan says that the Defense Production Act will be used to safeguard the production of more pandemic supplies in the U.S.[44] Enacting the Defense Production Act will allow President Biden to direct the manufacturing of critical goods, ensuring the availability of glass vials, syringes, and other supplies. The plan allows partners of states to create vaccine centers in stadiums, convention centers and pharmacies.[26] In the plan, the federal government will identify communities that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, and ensure that the vaccine does not reach them at an unfair pace.[45][44][26] In addition, the plan will launch a national campaign to educate Americans about the vaccine and COVID-19, targeting misinformation related to the pandemic.[26] Vaccines will also be freely available to all citizens regardless of immigration status in the plan.[44] Also in Biden's plan, he will issue a national testing strategy that attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by increasing laboratory capacity and expanding testing. The plan will also create a new program that develops new treatments for COVID-19.[44][43][45][26]

Domestic manufacturing

Biden signed an executive order intended to support domestic manufacturers by increasing a federal preference for purchasing goods made wholly or partly in the United States. Using the broad term "Made in America laws", the executive order's stated goal is to strengthen "all statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders relating to Federal financial assistance awards or Federal procurement, including those that refer to 'Buy America' or 'Buy American.'"[47][48]

Trade

The Wall Street Journal reported that instead of negotiating access to Chinese markets for large American financial-service firms and pharmaceutical companies, the Biden administration may focus on trade policies that boost exports or domestic jobs. U.S. trade representative nominee Katherine Tai said the administration wants a "worker-centered trade policy".[49][50] U.S. secretary of commerce nominee Gina Raimondo said she planned to aggressively enforce trade rules to combat unfair practices by China.[51]

Environmental policy

On January 20, 2021, Biden signed an executive order rejoining the United States to the Paris Agreement.[52][53] With the United States rejoining the agreement, countries responsible for two thirds of the global greenhouse gas emission will make pledges of becoming carbon neutral, while without United States it is only half.[54] On the same day, Biden also cancelled the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an extension of the Keystone Pipeline, by signing an executive order. The pipeline was heavily criticized by environmental and Native American activists and groups.[55][56] As a result of the executive order, TC Energy was forced to eliminate over 1,000 construction jobs in both Canada and the United States.[57][58] This order also directed agencies to review and reverse more than 100 actions made by President Donald Trump on the environment.[22] On January 21, the Biden administration issued a 60-day ban on oil and gas leases and permits on federal land and waters.[59] On January 27, Biden signed a number of executive orders aimed at combating climate change.[60] In an attempt to encourage U.S. membership to the Kigali Amendment, an international agreement aimed to reduce the production of Hydrofluorocarbon's, Biden's executive order directed the State Department to submit the Kigali Amendment to the Senate.[61][62]

Electoral reform

In response to what Biden describes as the growing influence of special interests and gerrymandering in elections, he has pledged to seek electoral reforms.[63]

Ethics reform

The Biden administration pledged to pass government ethics reform.[63]

Immigration policy

File:Proc10140 Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States.pdf
Presidential Proclamation 10141 – Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States

On January 20, 2021, Biden halted the construction of the United States-Mexico barrier[22] and ended the National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States that was declared in February 2018.[23] Biden issued a proclamation that ended the Trump travel ban imposed by Donald Trump on predominantly Muslim countries in January 2017.[22][23] Biden also reaffirmed protections to DACA recipients.[64] The same day, Biden sent a memorandum to the Department of State reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.[65][66]

On January 20, 2021, the Biden administration issued a moratorium on deporations from the Department of Homeland Security for the first 100 days of his presidency.[67] On January 22, 2021, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration for violating Biden's written pledge to cooperatively work with the State of Texas.[68] A federal judge in Texas subsequently issued a temporary restraining order barring the Biden administration from enforcing its moratorium, citing the lack of "any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations".[69]

On January 21, 2021, Biden proposed a bill that, if passed, would replace the word "alien" with "noncitizen" in United States immigration law.[70][71] The following day, Biden had a call with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. On the call, Biden and López Obrador spoke about immigration, where Biden spoke of reducing immigration from Mexico to the United States by targeting what Biden deemed as root causes.[72] According to an Associated Press report, López Obrador noted that Biden pledged $4 billion to "help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States."[73]

On January 23, Biden proposed an immigration bill.[74] As proposed, the bill would give a path to citizenship to 11 million immigrants living in the United States without a permanent legal status.[74] The bill would also make it easier for certain foreign workers to stay in the U.S.[75][76] Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin called the bill, "aspirational", and the bill is widely expected not to pass in both houses of congress without significant revision.[74][75][76]

Biden instructed ICE to focus on violent offenders of immigration laws.[77]

In February 2021, it was reported that Department of Homeland Security agents who had been empowered by Trump to enact his anti-immigration policies were resisting and defying Biden's immigration policies.[77] The union representing ICE agents signaled that its agents would not accept reversals of Trump policies.[77]

Infrastructure policy

The Biden administration aims for massive spending on the nation's infrastructure on the order of $2 trillion.[78]

Social policy

File:President Joe Biden signs executive orders on health care access and affordability.jpg
President Biden signs executive orders expanding the Affordable Care Act and revoking Trump administration health policies, January 28, 2021

During his early days in office, Biden focused on "advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity." According to The New York Times, Biden's early actions in office focused on racial equity more than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[79] On January 25, 2021, Biden signed an executive order that lifted the ban on transgender military service members.[80] This reversed a memorandum imposed by the previous president, Donald Trump.[81]

The Biden administration is seeking to put Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill.[82][83] This decision comes after Steven Mnuchin blocked the Obama administration's decision to put Tubman on the bill.[84] White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that it was important that United States money and notes reflect the "history and diversity" of the United States and putting Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill would reflect that.[85]

On January 26, Biden directed the Department of Justice to reduce their usage of private prisons and ordered the attorney general to not renew contracts with private prisons, citing the need to "reduce profit-based incentives" for the incarceration of racial minorities.[86] GEO Group considered the policy "a solution in search of a problem." David Fathi, the director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, stated that the executive order did not fully end America's usage of private prisons.[87][88]

Foreign policy

Biden has said the U.S. needs to "get tough" on China and build "a united front of U.S. allies and partners to confront China’s abusive behaviors and human rights violations."[89]

Biden nominated Antony Blinken to serve as Secretary of State who took office on January 26, 2021.[90][91] During his nomination hearing, Blinken stated that previous optimistic approaches to China were flawed,[92] and that Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, "was right in taking a tougher approach to China", but that he "disagree[s] very much with the way [Trump] went about it in a number of areas."[91] He endorsed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's report that China is committing a genocide against Uyghur Muslims.[91]

The administration will make tackling global climate change a priority for U.S. national security and foreign policy.[93] Immediately after becoming president, Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.

Biden ordered a halt in the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which the Trump administration had previously agreed to.[94] Two years after Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence under Biden’s administration, announced that the intelligence report into the case against Saudi Arabia's government will be declassified. It was reported that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be blamed for the murder, as was concluded by the CIA.[95]

On February 1, 2021, Biden condemned the Myanmar coup d'état and called for the release of detained officials. Biden also left open the door to re-imposing sanctions on the country, saying in a statement that "[t]he United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action." [96][97]

Nominees and appointments of the Biden cabinet

Template:Biden cabinet infobox

See also

References

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