During his first hours as president, Joe Biden plans to take executive action to roll back some of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor and to address the raging coronavirus pandemic, his incoming chief of staff said Saturday.
The initial salvo would be a 10-day flash of executive action as Biden seeks to act quickly to divert the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency without waiting for Congress.
On Wednesday, after his inauguration, Biden will end Trump’s restriction of immigration to the United States from certain Muslim-majority countries, move to reconnect with the Paris climate agreement and mandate masking on federal property and during interstate travel. There are about a dozen actions that Biden will take on his first day in the White House, said his incoming Chief of Staff Ron Klain in a memo to senior staff.
Other measures include extending the break for student loans and measures designed to prevent deportations and expulsions for those fighting the pandemic.
“These measures will provide relief to the millions of Americans struggling with these crises,” Klain said in the note. “President-elect Biden will take action – not only to reverse the most serious damage to the Trump administration – but also to move our country forward.”
“Complete achievement” of Biden’s goal will require Congress to act, Klain wrote, including the $ 1.9 trillion bill he unveiled on Thursday.
Providing a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally will be part of Biden’s agenda, according to people informed of his plans. Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum and among those informed, said immigrants would be put on an eight-year path. There would be a faster track for them in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects people from deportation who came to the United States as children, and for those from conflict-ridden countries with temporary status.
Day two for the new president
On Thursday, the new president’s second day in office, Biden would sign orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak aimed at reopening schools and businesses and expanding virus testing, Klain said. The following day, Friday, measures will be taken to provide financial relief to those suffering from the financial costs of the pandemic.
In the coming week, Klain said, Biden would take further action on criminal law reform, climate change and immigration – including a directive to speed up the reunification of families separated from the US-Mexico border under Trump’s policies.
More action will be taken, Klain said, after clearing legal scrutiny.
Incoming presidents are traditionally quick to sign a series of executive measures when they take office. Trump did the same, but he felt that many of his decisions were challenged and even rejected by the courts.
Klain argued that Biden should not be affected by similar issues, saying “the legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the president.”