Pandemic relief, climate change at the forefront
“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause.” President Biden’s inauguration speech proclaimed democracy prevailed over rising conspiracy theories, baseless claims to a rigged election, and insurrection on the Capitol—now seeking a time of hope, unity, and healing within a country ravaged by a pandemic and division.
A speech full of ambitious change is no new trope to the presidential inauguration, but the Biden administration seems to be more enterprising than most. Within his first day, Biden signed 15 executive actions including rejoining the Paris climate accord and The World Health Organization, revoking approval for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, halting funding for Trump’s US border, and ending the travel ban from certain Muslim-majority countries. Following his first productive day, he doesn’t seem to be dropping the momentum.
“We’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis,” Biden said at the White House on Jan. 27. His ambitious charge in curbing climate change is looking “to conserve 30% of federal lands and oceans by 2030,” according to the BBC. The immediate motions included most recently a pause on drilling leases on any federal lands and putting existing leases under review. Biden has also created the National Climate Advisor position to lead further movements in policy.
Biden also lifted the ban on transgender people serving in the military. The Human Rights Organization responded: “For years, transgender patriots were forced to continue to hide their identity while serving in our military. But today, thanks to President Joe Biden, Secretary Lloyd Austin, and pro-equality voters across America, they may live and serve openly as themselves.”
On top of ordinary presidential duties, Biden is tasked with taking charge of the country’s recovery from a pandemic claiming nearly half a million lives just within the country. Another first day executive action—mandating mask-wearing on federal property and in any interstate travel. The administration followed up with purchasing an additional 200 million doses of the vaccine. “This is an aggregate plan that doesn’t leave anything on the table or anything to chance,” Biden said. “This is a wartime effort.”
It’s clear the Biden administration is just getting started in its initiatives, from ordering the Department of Justice to end private prison contracts, reopening the Affordable Care Act, to committing to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not to mention—according to The Independent—“the West Wing was given a facelift before Mr. Biden even arrived to sign his first suite of 17 executive orders, with redesigned interior decorations including new drapes and artwork.”
Now, the upcoming relief bill will be the next big move for the administration, and no exception to this new legislative climate. But before this work fully takes place in the chambers, the US Senate began Trump’s second impeachment trial on Feb. 9, the first of its kind in US history.
This is a selection from the Feb. 10 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/570586/