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What's Joe Biden promised to do on his first 100 days in government?

Biden has laid out an ambitious set of goals to tackle wide ranging problems facing the US in his first 100 days, he began hours after being sworn in.

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What's Joe Biden promised to do on his first 100 days in government?
JIM WATSON AFP

The first 100 days of a presidency set the tone for the rest of a president’s term. President Joe Biden has made his intentions known ever since announcing his intention to run for president. The Biden administration will move fast over the coming weeks to tackle the challenges confronting the US on a range of issues both domestic and foreign.

In his first day in office he hit the ground running quickly beginning to undo his predecessor's legacy signing 17 executive actions reversing course on immigration, racial equity, climate change, and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Each day over the next week Biden will focus on one particular topic to clarify his administration’s strategy for moving forward.

Schedule for the next week

  • Thursday 21 January:         Pandemic
  • Friday 22 January:               Economy
  • Monday 25 January:            Buy American
  • Tuesday 26 January:            Equity
  • Wednesday 27 January:      Climate
  • Thursday 28 January:           Healthcare
  • Friday 29 January:                 Immigration

Day One: 17 executive actions

Just hours after taking the oath of office at the Capitol sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office President Biden signed his first action imposing a mask mandate on federal property. The “100 Days Masking Challenge” calls on the American public to wear masks for 100 days to stem the tide of the ever-expanding covid-19 pandemic. Further action to deal with the coronavirus pandemic came with an executive order creating the position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator to be filled by Jeff Zients.

To tackle some of the problems facing Americans financially due to the coronavirus pandemic Biden extended two programs already in place. Student loan payments and interest for Americans with federal student loans will be frozen at least through September. The nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures will extend until at least 31 March.

Biden dismantles controversial legacy of Trump

Biden sought to dismantle some of the more controversial legacies of Trump. Biden halted construction on the border wall with Mexico and reversed the travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries. Non-citizens will be included in the Census allowing apportionment of congressional representatives for the districts they live in. He also undid Trump's expansion of immigration enforcement within the United States, the aggressive policy to round up undocumented immigrants.

In a move to show that the US will participate actively in the international arena he rejoined the World Health Organization and brought the US back into the Paris climate accord. Further actions on the climate included cancelling the XL Pipeline and he directed agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment.

Biden dissolved the Trump administration's 1776 Commission, an 18-person commission, with no historians, tasked with creating a framework for a "patriotic education" to counter "false and fashionable" histories. The commission released an inflammatory report on Martin Luther King, Jr Day asserting that "the Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders." As part of the executive order agencies are directed to review their actions to ensure racial equity.

Other Day One executive orders included:

  • Dismantling Trump's regulatory approval process and directs
  • Directing OMB director to develop recommendations to modernize regulatory review and undoing Trump's regulatory approval process.
  • Preventing workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Protections for DACA
  • Extending deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a safe haven in the United States until June 30, 2022
  • Executive branch appointees will be required to sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in personal interest and requiring them to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice

Biden’s plans for the first 100 days

President Biden will need Congress to approve many of the initiatives he hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days. The Democrats have a slim majority in the House and the Senate is evenly split 50-50, Kamala Harris would cast the tiebreaking vote in the Democrats favor but that does not ensure smooth sailing. Some of the measures that are not budgetary could face a filibuster in the Senate creating a 60-vote threshold.

Economic Recovery

Biden has a two part "Build Back Better" economic recovery plan. The first part, the American Rescue Plan, is a $1.9 trillion proposal he presented last week including the $1400 stimulus checks. His infrastructure portion of the plan will be presented in February.

Climate

Biden plans to organize a "climate world summit" to push world leaders to more aggressively tackle climate change. He is also proposing to make the US energy production 100 percent green by 2035.

Repealing tax cuts

Biden wants the top income earners to pay more of their fair share to finance many of his programs and create a more equitable society. Biden said he would fight for the repeal of the 2017 tax cuts.

Equality

Biden will push to pass the "Equality Act," a bill to add more protections for LGBT Americans.

Violence

Biden will propose legislation to offer more protections for women and greater protections for transgender women to update the 1994 “the Violence Against Women Act” he authored as a senator.

Guns

Biden said he would ask Congress to close the "loopholes" and also repeal liability protection for gun manufacturers, which would allow Americans to sue the gun industry if a gun is used in a crime. Biden also plans to restructure federal agencies that oversee gun laws.