President-elect Joe Biden steps into the Oval Office with the country deeply divided worse than it was four years ago. From the COVID-19 crisis to the economy and racial inequality, the former vice president is preparing to enact a sweeping set of executive orders within the first days of his presidency.
“The proposals include tackling the pandemic, reversing immigration policies put in place under President Donald Trump and addressing criminal justice reform,” a report by USA Today detailed on Monday.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan unveiled Thursday includes $20 billion for a national vaccination program, $1,400 stimulus checks and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. A proposal he’ll introduce next month during his state of the union address to a joint session of Congress.
The incoming president also pledged to supply 100 million doses of the Coronavirus vaccine during the first 100 days of his administration; roughly one-third of the general adult population.
“This will be one of the most challenging operational efforts we have ever undertaken as a nation,” Biden said. “We’ll have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated, create more places for them to get vaccinated, to mobilize more medical teams to get shots in people’s arms.”
Some of the other initiatives Biden wants to address by mid-April are implementing a national mask mandate in places “under law enforcement,” such as public transportation and government buildings, along with safely reopening schools across the nation as part of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also plans to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris Agreement of 2106, which was put in place for counties combat climate change on a global scale. One of the many international pacts President Trump pulled out of during his four years in office. It was also reported that Biden plans to end the Keystone XL pipeline deal on day one. A hit to the oil and gas industry after a decade-long fight over the controversial $8 billion pipeline running through Canada.
One of Biden’s biggest challenges will come by undoing many of the Trump administration’s immigration policies on his first day.
The President-elect said he’ll institute a federal task force to reunite children who’ve been detained illegally in holding camps and separated from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. According to USA Today, “As of December, 628 parents who were separated from their children at the border are still missing.”
He will also plan to offer citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. and revoke the highly-controversial travel ban targeted at mostly Muslim countries. Biden has also said construction of the southern border wall will cease and the project will end due to lack of funding.
There are plans for a Biden tax readjustment in 2021. A proposed new tax plan includes raising corporate income taxes by seven percent from 21% to 28%. Trump gave businesses a break with the tax cut and jobs act passed in 2017. A 14% tax reduction totaling a whooping $5.5 trillion in savings for corporations. Biden has also stated that “no one making less than $400,000 will see their taxes increase, but that a 12.4% Social Security payroll tax will be imposed on those who earn $400,000 or more.”
One of the most important things for Biden’s supporters was his promise for LGBTQ+ protections on the campaign trail. The President-elect said he would fight to pass the Equality Act, which would extend federal protections to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“To help achieve our vision of equality, I will make enactment of the Equality Act a top legislative priority during my first 100 days — a priority that Donald Trump opposes,” Biden said in October. “This is essential to ensuring that no future president can ever again roll back civil rights and protections for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
Biden will strive for equality for more than just those who identify as being part of LGBTQ+ community. Since the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, he has called police reform in the U.S. a priority that needs to be addressed.
“We need each and every police department in the country to undertake a comprehensive review of their hiring, their training and their de-escalation practices,” Biden said in a speech last year. “And the federal government should give them the tools and resources they need to implement reforms.”