Steps to strengthen the nation’s Covid-19 response and restore environmental protections are among Biden’s first measures as president.
In his first days in office, President Joe Biden moved to dismantle a slew of Trump-era regulations and make sweeping measures to bolster the nation’s Covid-19 response.
The new president also ordered the establishment a variety of environmental protections and changes to immigration policy.
As he embarks on his first full work week as president, Biden is poised to continue scrapping a number of the Trump administration’s policies, including the controversial transgender military ban.
Here’s a round-up of the measures that the president has taken so far.
Memorandum freezing approval of rules passed in final days of Trump presidency
According to Biden’s memorandum, all new and pending rules passed in the last days of Trump’s tenure will be reviewed by department and agency heads.
Executive order rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change
Fulfilling one of his top campaign promises, Biden committed to putting the U.S. back in the Paris Agreement on climate change — an international pact aimed at curbing emissions that cause global warming. Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2017, citing costs to American taxpayers.
Executive order to promote racial equity
Biden ordered his government to conduct equity assessments of its agencies and reallocate resources to “advanc[e] equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
Proclamation ending ban on U.S. entry from majority-Muslim countries
Biden’s proclamation reversed Trump’s policy that barred entry to the U.S. for refugees and residents from seven predominantly Muslim countries and orders plans within 45 days for resuming visa processing.
Executive order requiring mask-wearing on federal property
Biden has mandated mask-wearing and social distancing on all federal properties. While the president lacks the authority to institute a nationwide mask mandate, the order also “encourage[s] masking across America.”
Executive order coordinating a government-wide Covid-19 response
With the U.S. surpassing 400,000 COVID-19 deaths earlier this month, Biden’s order created the position of Covid-19 response coordinator, who will advise the president and oversee the distribution of vaccines, tests and other supplies.
Executive order revising immigration enforcement policies
Revoking a Trump-era policy that cracked down on communities shielding undocumented immigrants from deportation, Biden vowed to “protect national and border security” and “address the humanitarian challenges at the southern border.”
Executive order undoing regulatory restrictions on federal agencies
Biden’s order scrapped a batch of Trump-era executive actions that restricted how federal agencies make regulatory changes, including one measure requiring agencies to discard two regulations for every one proposed.
Executive order incorporating undocumented immigrants into census
Undocumented immigrants will be counted in the national decennial population count, according to Biden’s order, which overturned Trump’s attempt to exclude them during the 2020 census.
Executive order refocusing on the climate crisis and canceling the Keystone XL permit
Alongside a variety of actions to “advance environmental justice,” Biden revoked the permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline — a 1,200-mile pipeline system projected to carry crude oil from Canada to the U.S. that cuts through Indigenous lands.
The measure also restored several national monuments whose footprints were reduced by Trump and paused oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Executive order banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation
In a move lauded by LGBTQ advocates, Biden’s order will extend federal nondiscrimination protections to members of the LGBTQ community, building off the landmark Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, last year to expand protections against discrimination based on sex in federal agencies to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as well.
Memorandum revamping regulatory review
In a memorandum, Biden directed the head of the Office of Budget and Management to oversee an effort to “modernize and improve” the regulatory review process.
Executive order mandating ethics pledge for government appointees
On the heels of Trump’s midnight bid to reverse ethics commitments for executive branch employees, Biden signed an order requiring all government appointees to sign an ethics pledge prohibiting the acceptance of gifts from registered lobbyists and lobbying for at least two years after exiting the government.
Proclamation pulling funds from border wall
Biden terminated the construction and funding of the wall at U.S. southern border — a key promise of the Trump administration that has drawn backlash for its environmental impacts and is being litigated at the Supreme Court for the allegedly improper use of funds.
Executive order pausing federal student loan payments
Biden requested an extension of the freeze on federal student loan payments, writing that “[t]oo many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families.”
Memorandum reinstating deferred enforced departure for Liberians
Biden’s memorandum blocked the deportation of Liberian refugees living in the U.S., reinstating the deferment of their enforced departure granted by the Bush and Obama administrations.
Memorandum strengthening Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Biden reaffirmed DACA, an Obama-era program that Trump had long sought to dismantle that shielded undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation.
Executive order promoting Covid-19 safety in domestic and international travel
In an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 through travel, Biden mandated mask-wearing on all forms of public transportation, including in airports, airplanes and buses.
Executive order expanding access to Covid-19 treatments
Biden’s order has directed the secretary of health to support research on Covid-19 treatments and increase support for critical care and long-term care facilities like nursing homes — which have been among the sites hit hardest by the pandemic.
Executive order promoting data-driven response to Covid-19
Another of Biden’s orders on the nation’s Covid-19 response directed all department and agency heads to “facilitate the gathering, sharing and publication of Covid-19-related data” in order to inform their decision-making and public understanding of the pandemic.
Memorandum supporting states’ use of National Guard in Covid-19 response
Biden’s memorandum directed the secretaries of defense and homeland security to support governors’ deployment of the National Guard in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which will be fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Executive order strengthening public health supply chain
Biden’s order invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up supplies for the pandemic response and requested the heads of various departments to assess the nationwide availability of personal protective equipment and other resources needed to distribute Covid-19 tests and coronavirus vaccines, as well as to develop a strategy to manufacture supplies for “future pandemics and biological threats.”
Executive order establishing the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force
In an effort to address social inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, Biden’s order created the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will provide recommendations on the allocation of resources and funding in light of “disparities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity and other factors.”
Executive order supporting the reopening and continuing operation of schools
In consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education will develop guidance for elementary and secondary schools “in deciding whether and how to reopen, and how to remain open, for in-person learning; and in safely conducting in-person learning.”
Executive order promoting workplace safety amid the pandemic
Biden’s order directed the Department of Labor to revise and issue new guidance for employers to promote the health and safety of their workers, such as mask-wearing in the workplace.
Executive order establishing a Covid-19 pandemic testing board
Biden’s newly created pandemic testing board will coordinate national efforts to “promote Covid-19 diagnostic, screening and surveillance testing,” as well as facilitate the distribution of free Covid-19 tests to those without comprehensive health insurance.
Executive order expanding food assistance programs
Biden’s order aims to extend the 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and allow states to increase SNAP emergency allotments, as well as increase benefits under another aid program, the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, which gives students money for food.
Executive order assisting veterans with debt
Biden’s order asked the Department of Veterans Affairs with considering a freeze on federal debt and overpayment collection from about 2 million veterans.
Executive order guaranteeing unemployment insurance for workers who refuse work due to Covid-19
Biden has requested that the Department of Labor consider clarifying its rules to establish that workers “have a federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health,” and that workers who do so will still qualify for unemployment insurance.
Executive order establishing “benefit delivery teams”
Biden’s order established “a network of benefit delivery teams,” which will coordinate with state and federal agencies to facilitate the distribution of federal aid amid the pandemic.
Executive order facilitating delivery of stimulus payments
Biden’s order requested the Treasury Department to consider taking “a series of actions to expand and improve delivery” of direct stimulus payments, including the creation of online tools for recipients to claim their checks.
Executive order to address Covid-19 economic relief
Biden’s order directed all government departments and agencies to “promptly identify actions they can take within existing authorities to address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.”
Executive order empowering federal workers and contractors
Undoing Trump-era regulations that rolled back protections for federal employees, Biden revoked a variety of measures, including a rule that made it easier to hire and fire civil servants in policy-making positions.
The order also requested the Department of Labor to develop recommendations that all federal government employees receive a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Executive order reversing transgender military ban
Biden repealed the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military and ordered the defense secretary to “immediately prohibit involuntary separations, discharges and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to their gender identity.”
Proclamation reinstating Covid-19 travel restrictions
Biden reinstated Covid-19 travel restrictions affecting non-U.S. citizens traveling from Brazil and much of Europe, which Trump had scrapped days before his term ended. Additionally, the ban will bar most non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa, where a new strain of Covid-19 has been identified.
Executive order promoting ‘Buy American’ agenda
In an effort to bolster American manufacturing, Biden signed an executive order directing agencies to strengthen requirements about purchasing products and services from U.S. workers and businesses and to “close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences.”
Executive order calling for evaluation of Trump’s housing policies
Biden directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “examine the effects of the previous Administration’s regulatory actions that undermined fair housing policies and laws” and use its findings to implement the Fair Housing Act’s standards as needed.
Executive order to end reliance on private prisons
In an effort to terminate the federal government’s use of privately owned detention facilities, the Attorney General has been directed not to renew Department of Justice contracts with private prisons.
Executive order reaffirming commitment to tribal sovereignty
Emphasizing the administration’s commitment to respecting the sovereignty of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, Biden’s order reaffirmed a Clinton-era policy mandating all department and agency heads regularly consult with tribal officials on policy matters that may affect them.
Executive order denouncing anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia
In response to a surge in anti-Asian bias amid the coronavirus pandemic, Biden’s order urged the Department of Health and Human Services to consider issuing guidance on cultural competency and sensitivity toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as part of the nation’s Covid-19 response. Additionally, the order directed the attorney general to work to prevent discrimination and hate crimes.
Executive order initiating plan to combat climate change
In accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change, Biden’s plan to tackle climate change called for the U.S. to determine its target for emissions reduction and directed federal agencies to incorporate climate considerations into their international plans. The order also directed agencies to purchase American-made, zero-emission vehicles in an effort to create union jobs as part of Biden’s “Buy American” agenda, suspend new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and conserve at least 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030.
Additionally, the order established the Office of Domestic Climate Policy and a national climate task force, as well as a working group to assist communities impacted by coal mining and power plants and an environmental justice council to “address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.”
Memorandum on scientific integrity
According to Biden’s memorandum, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy will review agency policies on scientific integrity, and agencies that oversee research must designate a senior employee to “ensure agency research programs are scientifically and technologically well-founded and conducted with integrity.”
Executive order re-establishing presidential council on science and technology
The president will solicit input from a council of advisors on science and technology, which will advise Biden on “scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity and other topics.”
Executive order reinforcing Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act
In an effort to counter Trump’s attempts to strike down the Affordable Care Act, Biden signed an order directing agencies to re-examine policies that undermined protections for people with pre-existing conditions, complicated the process of enrolling in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act and reduced coverage and affordability of the programs.
The order also designated Feb. 15 to May 15 as a “special enrollment period” for uninsured Americans to sign up on healthcare.gov for health insurance amid the pandemic.
Memorandum expanding access to reproductive health care
Biden’s memorandum immediately revoked the “Mexico City policy,” also referred to as the global gag rule, a Reagan-era policy reinstated by Trump that blocks federal funding to foreign organizations that perform abortions or provide abortion counseling or referrals.
Additionally, Biden directed the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate whether to rescind Trump regulations under the Title X family planning program, which pulled funding from hundreds of women’s health clinics across the country in 2019.