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How many executive actions has Biden signed since he became president?

Joe Biden has signed significantly more executive orders during his first days in office than any of his predecessors in modern times.

U.S. President Joe Biden salutes a United Staes Marine while descending from Marine One to the White House in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Since taking office on 20 January, President Joe Biden has signed a raft of executive actions, many of which have been aimed at reversing the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump.

In less than two weeks in office, the Democratic president has signed 42 executive orders, substantially more than any of his contemporaries did in their first days in office (Donald Trump signed four, Barack Obama signed five and George W Bush signed none in the first week).

Biden’s flurry of executive orders is unprecedented in modern times, but so is the current situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is why 15 of the 42 executive actions are aimed at addressing the Covid-19 public health crisis.

The rest of Biden’s executive orders, meanwhile, fall under healthcare, the environment, equity, economy, ethics, immigration, regulation and the census. Here’s a look at some of the most notable executive orders signed by Biden so far.

Biden's most notable executive orders

‘Strengthening Medicaid and Affordable Care Act’

Biden is following through on his campaign promise to bolster President Obama’s landmark health reform law, also known as Obamacare. The executive action creates a special enrollment period allowing Americans to sign up who have lost employer-based health insurance during the pandemic. It also directs federal agencies to reexamine current policies that may undermine the Affordable Care Act.

'Memorandum on Protecting Women's Health at Home and Abroad’

On day nine, Biden signed another progressive policy with the memorandum on expanding access to reproductive health care, which immediately revoked a policy reinstated by Trump that blocks federal funding to NGOs that carry out abortions or provide abortion counseling or referrals.

Since the policy was first announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, it has been regularly reinstated by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic administrations.

Furthermore, Biden instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the possible reversal of a Trump policy that overhauled the Title X program, which led to the withdrawal of funding from any health centers that offered or referred patients for non-elective abortions, like Planned Parenthood.

'Paris Climate Agreement’

US President Joe Biden signs executive orders on health care, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2021. MANDEL NGAN (AFP)
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US President Joe Biden signs executive orders on health care, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2021. MANDEL NGAN (AFP)

One of the first orders signed by Biden was the one which sees the US rejoin the monumental Paris Climate Accord, from which Donald Trump withdrew in 2017 (although formal withdrawal did not go ahead until November 2020).

'Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad’

Most notably, this order puts a halt to new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters. It also includes: the establishment of National Climate Task Force; the development of carbon emission reduction targets and commitments to develop clean infrastructure projects.

‘Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis’ rescinds the contract on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and directs agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment. The contract for Keystone XL was reinstated by Trump after it had been canceled by Barack Obama in 2015.

‘Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform’ will rescind Trump’s ban on transgender Americans joining the armed forces.

'Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities’ will direct the attorney general to halt the renewal of federal contracts with private prisons.

'Pausing Federal Student Loan Payments’ will extend the suspension of student loan payments until at least 30 September.

'Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease’ sees the reintroduction of Covid-19 travel restrictions for people traveling to the US from Brazil, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa.

'Proclamation on the Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction’ terminates the funding for Trump’s wall at the US-Mexico border.


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