Joe Biden Takes Oath as 46th President, Signs Executive Orders on Pandemic Response, Evictions, Climate, Immigration and Racial Equity
January 23, 2021
On January 20, the peaceful inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris as vice president took place on the steps of the Capitol, where two weeks prior a violent mob attempted to overturn the electoral process.
- President Biden in his inaugural address emphasized themes of national struggle and unity. He stated, “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.”
- Vice President Harris – who is the highest-ranking woman of color in U.S. history – stated during a post-inaugural event, “This, too, is American Aspiration. This is what President Joe Biden has called upon us to summon now. The courage to see beyond crisis. To do what is hard. To do what is good. To unite.” (New York Times, Jan. 21)
The new administration’s top priority is to develop and manage a coordinated, national public health and economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On its first two days in office it issued:
Additional “Day One” Orders
In addition to addressing COVID-19, the Biden Administration moved swiftly on “Day One” with 17 Executive Orders (EOs) covering a range of issues. (New York Times and CQ, Jan. 20) These actions include:
- Extending the federal residential eviction moratorium (scheduled to expire on January 31) through the end of March – with a request to HUD and other agencies to allow forbearance on payments of federally-guaranteed mortgages;
- “Restoring science” and “tackling the climate crisis,” such as by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, and directing the EPA and the Energy Department to reassess Trump-era rules on building energy codes as well as standards for appliance and motor vehicle fuel efficiency;
- Advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities; and
- Restoring protection for “Dreamers” under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ending the ban on travel to the U.S. from primarily Muslim countries, and other immigration-related matters. The Roundtable joined an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court last year urging that DACA protections should be re-instated for immigrants brought to the United States as children. (Roundtable Weekly, June 19, 2020 )
- (Biden has also proposed a legislative immigration overhaul that would provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented, which has already been met with some GOP opposition and “underscore[s] that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly.” (AP, Jan. 19).
The Biden Administration's initial actions and policy agenda will be a focus of The Roundtable's Jan. 26-27 State of the Industry Meeting (held virtually). Speakers will include:
The Roundtable will also unveil its 2021 National Policy Agenda publication soon, which will address policy issues in in the areas of tax, capital and credit, energy and climate, homeland security, and infrastructure and housing.
# # #