United States President Joe Biden Signs Executive Orders in Oval Office of the White House Photo: JapanTimes

Biden seeks unity among Americans, signs 15 Executive Orders on health, immigration, students’ loans, others

*United States President Joe Biden cooperation in a divided country as he promises to be ‘President of all Americans’

*Lifts travel restrictions on Nigeria, other countries, and reveals former President Trump left him ‘a generous letter’

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In hitting the ground running upon assumption of duty, United States (US) President Joe Biden has begun to instantly unwind his predecessor’s policies on immigration, climate and other issues evening Wednesday, January 20, 2021, as he signed at least 15 Executive Ordera and two other action items for immediate execution.

ConsumerConnect gathered these Executive Orders involve practical actions to reverse US withdrawals from the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organisation (WHO), and stop construction of a border wall between the country and Mexico among several others.

The President was reported to have signed three of the executive actions in the presence of reporters in the White House Wednesday, beginning with an order requiring the use of nose masks on Federal property in the US.

However, text of the orders and other actions was not immediately released, agency report stated.

According to him, some of his directives would “help change the course of the COVID crisis” and that his actions on racial equity “are all starting points.”

After signing the actions, Biden swore-in about 1,000 political appointees at the White House and Federal agencies, who participated via video conference in the East Room.

He stated: “We have to restore the soul of this country and I’m counting on all of you. “We’ve reached a point, in my view, where the American people ─the blinders have been taken off.”

The President noted that the government’s Coronavirus vaccination programme would be the “most consequential logistical thing that’s ever been done in the United States,” and that his administration “can meet this existential threat of climate change.”

He as well urged his appointees to lead with “one core American value: humility and trust.

“If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.

“Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. That’s been missing in a big way the last four years.”

Likewise, Biden is expected to approve orders invalidating a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and ending former President Donald Trump’s travel ban against some predominantly Muslim and African countries.

The countries are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, Venezuela, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

Students’ Loan Debt Concept   Photo: Getty Images

Whereas some of the orders will roll back unilateral measures Trump had imposed as President, others , including an extension of moratoriums on students’ loan payments, foreclosures and evictions, are intended to address the healthcare and attendant economic crisis wreaked on the country’s economy by the damaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Brian Deese, incoming National Economic Director, in a call previewing the executive actions said: “We’re seeing too many Americans that are just barely keeping their heads above water.”

It was also gathered Biden’s aides disclosed that the President would sign more Day-One executive actions than any of his predecessors, to be followed by additional regulatory and policy changes in the coming weeks.

These will include rolling back the so-called “Mexico City policy” restricting federal funding for organisations that provide abortion counselling and revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, report noted.

The Day One agenda, according to report, includes re-engaging with World Health Organisation; Launch of a “100-Day Masking Challenge” asking Americans to mask up for the first 100 days of his administration; Eviction and foreclosure moratoriums; Easing Burden of Student Loans.

Other actions are Rejoining the Climate Agreement as part of the several initial moves to restore efforts by the Obama administration to combat climate change, including re-joining the Paris accord; Revoking Keystone XL Pipeline; Fuel Standards, and Use of Federal Lands; and Revisiting Trump’s Regulatory Agenda.

Further still, Biden plans to activate other actions, including no more money for (Trump’s) wall; Scrapping the Travel Ban; Counting Noncitizens for the US Census; Bolstering Sanctuaries and the DACA Programme; Protecting Liberians Who Fled Civil War; ‘Racial Equity Review’ for All of Government; Closing Down the 1776 Commission;

Ethics Rules for Political Appointees; and New Protections Against Discrimination among others.

The US President also extends a deportation deferral for Liberians living in the country under a two-decade old programme designed to offer safe haven to people who fled that country’s civil war.

Recall that Trump had sought to eliminate the protection, arguing conditions in Liberia had improved, but Biden will extend it to at least June 2022, according to report.

Meanwhile, Biden plans to order a whole-of government “racial equity” review, led by Domestic Policy Council director Susan Rice that will require each department and agency to conduct a “baseline review” of whether its policies disadvantage any demographic group.

The Office of Management and Budget will also undertake a review to “more equitably allocate federal resources,” according to a summary of the action provided by Biden’s team.

Meanwhile, President Biden has revealed that his predecessor, Donald Trump, left him a “very generous letter” before leaving Washington ahead of his inauguration

He told reporters in the Oval Office: “The President wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him.”

Report says the remarks came after Biden had signed three of the 15 Executive Orders, including a requirement for nose masks on federal property and a measure that would re-enter the US into the Paris Agreement on climate.

Trump had departed the White House, in Washington around minutes past 8.00a.m. (EST) Wednesday and arrived at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, before Biden was sworn in to replace him as the 46th President of the United States.

Additional reporting by Alexander Davis

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