President Biden has a full slate of new executive orders to get to during the coming week, with a memo obtained by The Hill outlining a slew of decisions categorised by theme that will keep the 78-year-old's nose to the grindstone all week.
- According to the news outlet, Monday should see Biden signing an order tightening requirements for government agencies to buy more goods and services from American businesses, with the move expected to help the Democrat make good on a “Buy American” election campaign pledge.
- The Trump-style decision (the former president signed a similar buy-and-hire-American decree in 2017) has already led to some groaning from America’s trade partners, especially Canada, America’s second largest trading partner. Canadian Global Affairs Institute vice president Colin Robertson told the Wall Street Journal Sunday that “once the thing goes into effect, there will be Canadian companies who will say, 'Oh, we are excluded.' Then, they will begin to squawk.”
- On Tuesday, Biden is expected to sign executive orders related to immigration, a reversal of a ban on transgender persons in the military, an order renouncing discrimination and harassment against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities, an order telling federal agencies to "strengthen engagement" with Native American tribes, instructions to the Justice Department to take steps to eliminate the use of private prisons, and the formation of a policing commission.
- The order on the policing commission comes despite the fact that a similar commission created by Trump already completed a review earlier this month examining ways in which the criminal justice system could be reformed in the wake of last summer’s wave of protests following the death of an unarmed African American in police custody in Minneapolis.
- On Wednesday, his one-week anniversary in office, Biden is expected to formally announce a US-hosted climate summit to be held on Earth Day (April 22), to increase pollution regulations and classify climate change “a national security priority.” The omnibus order is expected to continue to unwind the legacy of his predecessor, who scrapped regulations and withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. Biden rejoined the accord on his first day in office.
- On the campaign trail, Biden drew flak from the Democrats’ left flank, and from Trump, for refusing to commit to the Green New Deal, a massive, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure, technology and public works spending proposal pushed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and seeking to end US dependence of fossil fuels entirely in favour of alternative sources of energy. The executive decisions he's already made or is planning to make are of a much smaller scale. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has already begun criticising China over its carbon footprint.
- Thursday’s theme is expected to be health care. According to the memo, Biden’s agenda will include signing an order to rescind policy banning the use of US aid money to fund abortions abroad. The regulation, also known as the "Mexico City Policy," has been kicked around like a football by presidents going back to Ronald Reagan, with Democrats rescinding it and Republicans restoring it repeatedly since the 1980s.
- Thursday is also expected to see Biden sign an order to strengthen Medicaid and kick off a new enrolment period for the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era statute aimed at improving health care access for poor Americans by easing access to insurance. Trump threatened to “repeal and replace” the act in 2016, and spent much of his time in office trying to weaken it. GOP efforts to repeal the act failed after several Republican senators, including the late Trump arch rival John McCain, voted against getting rid of it in 2017.
- Finally, Friday’s slate of executive orders is expected to be dedicated to immigration, and reportedly includes plans to reverse Trump-era policies on asylum, as well as brainstorming on how to stop illegal immigration from Central America. Additionally, Biden is expected to create a task force on reunifying thousands of migrant families separated under his predecessor. It’s not clear whether the policy will impact families separated by Biden’s old boss.
- Two more orders, related to a review of the naturalisation process, and the United States Refugee Admission Programme are also expected, but the latter could be canceled, according to The Hill.
In his first three days in office, Biden signed 30 executive orders, already surpassing the total issued by 18 past US presidents, and well underway to matching Trump, who signed 217 executive orders in four years. Both men remain far behind Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed a whopping 3,522 executive orders during his twelve years in office.