AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden was sworn in as America’s 46th president on Jan. 20. Since that day, he hasn’t wasted any time tackling important matters such as COVID-19, healthcare, environmental changes, racial equality, immigration, LGBTQ rights and more.
Here are some details on the actions Biden has taken so far.
According to the CDC, the U.S. has surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths and Biden has plans to help stop the number from growing any further. An executive order was placed, creating the position of a coronavirus response coordinator, who will be responsible for advising the president, managing the distribution of vaccines, deciding travel restrictions and overall helping the federal government tackle the virus. Jeff Zients was given this role.
Biden has bought additional doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine and had said there would be enough to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of summer. He has also promised to make the vaccination available to all members of the public, regardless of any legal complications. The cost of getting the vaccine is covered by most insurance plans and government-sponsored programs, which means it’s predominantly free.
Another executive order was placed to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing on all federal properties. While Biden can’t initiate a nationwide mask mandate without the agreement of state governors, the order also highly encourages people to wear their masks.
Fulfilling one of his top campaign promises, Biden has signed an executive order to put the U.S. back on the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Agreement is an international treaty aimed to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. “To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century” (unfccc.int). This is only the first step.
The United States, being the country responsible for the single largest part of greenhouse gasses that have warmed the planet ever since the industrial age, will need to set a more specific target. Using scientific research, Biden’s goal of making the country carbon neutral by 2050, meaning there is a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, will slowly start to take place. For example, coal power would be replaced by renewable and less harmful energy sources like solar and wind power.
Racial equality and equal rights
Biden has requested that equity assessments be provided by the federal government to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality” (whitehouse.gov). This will allow all people, no matter their skin color, to be treated equally and fully respected in any workplace. This is especially important for people looking for jobs, as they are now even more protected from any employment discrimination.
Biden has also placed an executive order to extend the existing federal nondiscrimination defense to anyone identifying with the LGBTQ+ community. The order builds additional protection based on people’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Revoking a policy that former President Donald Trump set on undocumented immigrants who were being deported from the country, Biden vowed to protect the national security and to “address the humanitarian challenges at the southern border.”
Biden signed three more executive orders on the matter, which he said would only lead to improvements in the immigration system. One of his biggest goals is to reunite families that have previously been separated after crossing the U.S. and Mexico border. This would require a great deal of work, making sure that families are safely together.
As the new president tackles challenges, both old and new, his goals are aimed to create a country that is a safe and better place for all people.
“Over the last 10 days, I’ve taken action on COVID-19, the economy, climate change, racial equity, immigration, health care, LGBTQ+ rights,” said President Biden on an Instagram post. “And I’m just getting started.”