President Joe Biden has begun his rollback of the last four years with a swath of executive orders, directives, and memoranda. That he chose to sign them on inauguration day appears little to do with a sense of urgency, but rather a symbolic gesture to please his supporters. From pulling money from wall-building projects to reinstating DACA, each order seems a knee-jerk reaction to the Trump era.
Choosing not to listen to former President Barack Obama’s 2016 advice to Donald Trump regarding the heavy-handed use of executive orders, Biden has signed an assortment on his first day in office. While campaigning for the presidency, then-candidate Biden assured the nation that he could work well with all elements of Congress to achieve his legislative agenda – as suggested by Obama. That he has chosen the executive option in what is being described as a “virtue-signaling power play” may leave him open to serious questions about this initial claim.
The more prominent of Joe Biden’s orders include:
- Halt all funding to the southern border wall.
- Revoke “aggressive” immigration enforcement.
- “Preserve and fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
- End the travel ban from Venezuela, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, North Korea, and Iran.
- Allow non-citizens to be included in the census for the purpose of assigning congressional seats.
- Re-engage with the World Health Organization.
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
- Revoke the presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- Require masks and social distancing on all federal land and in all federal buildings.
- Extend the COVID eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.
And there are more to come. From ending the Mexico City policy to signing an order that defines the word “equity,” Biden is expected to keep lawyers busy for quite a long time.
Careful What You Wish For
Newly appointed White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said, “He wants to roll up his sleeves and get to work as quickly as possible” and seeks to fulfill his goals of “moving the country forward.”
It seems that this is not so much moving the country forward, but rather a rehash of the Obama era. Biden has chosen not to focus on making innovative changes and instead is attempting to recreate a pre-2016 America. If his goal is to ensure a long-lasting Democrat legacy, he should perhaps recall that it was Barack Obama’s eight years in office that sparked the America First movement and the rise of President Donald Trump.
Read more from Mark Angelides.