Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: What Happened at the Inauguration and Biden’s Executive Orders+Announcements


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

Well, it’s official! Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States of America, with Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President. You may have seen them sworn in or caught a glimpse of the performances from stars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, but do you know about the significance of the events on January 20th? Additionally, are you aware of the executive orders and plans the new President has put or is planning to put in place? Let’s break this down. 

First and foremost, Kamala Harris is the first woman, African American, and South Asian American Vice President in America explained in a BBC article. She has two immigrant parents, and her biracial upbringing means she can engage and appeal to many American identities (Honderich). She sets the stage for more representation of different genders and ethnicities in higher parts of government, encouraging people to chase their dreams regardless of the societal challenges they may experience.

Onto Biden, an NPR article highlights six takeaways from Biden’s inauguration. His speech was centered around unity, as he stated, “To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion” (Biden). He then laid out his priorities, including dealing with COVID-19, racial justice, climate change, and domestic extremism, including white supremacy (Montanaro). 

According to The Telegraph, a UK news site, on his first day as President, he made 17 executive orders to set his administration plan. First, he signed that all undocumented residents of the US must be counted towards the population and distribution of Congressional representatives. In regards to COVID-19, he signed the ‘100 Day Masking Challenge’ which requested that every American wear a mask for the next 100 days, legally mandated social distancing, and mandated wearing masks on federal property. He also made the US join the World Health Organisation. In terms of economy and environment, he is extending the nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until March 31st and putting a national pause on student loan repayments until September 30th. He then signed the US back up for the Paris Climate Accords. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline while also demanding a review and reversal for more than 100 of Trump’s environmental policies (Parekh). 

Regarding equality and ethics, Trumps’ 1776 Commission Report, which would cause more patriotic courses of study in schools, has been canceled. Lawful prevention for workplace discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation has been put into place, and appointees to the executive branch of government have to sign a pledge requiring them to respect and maintain the independence of the Department of Justice. As for immigration, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DECA, has been strengthened, providing legal protection to children born in the US with undocumented parents. The construction of Trump’s wall has been stopped, the expansion of immigration enforcement has been cut down, and Liberians with safe haven in the US have been given an extension on the already postponed deportations until June 30th, 2022, as well as being granted work authorization. Finally, regulation has been taken into account as Trump’s regulatory approval process has been revoked (Parekh). 

Biden has made other orders and delivered other speeches after his first day in office. On the third day, he increased sustenance assistance, which speeds up stimulus payments and boosts the current welfare payout to improve the food crisis (Parekh). On Tuesday, January 26th, Biden also announced that his administration is planning on purchasing 200 million more doses of the two authorized COVID-19 vaccines, explained in another NPR article. He also explained how he intends to increase vaccine doses to state and local governments in the next three weeks. Both of his announcements support his goal of having enough vaccination supply for all US adult populations by the end of summer (Swasey). 

The significance of the 2021 inauguration and quick movements of executive orders by Biden’s administration sets the stage for the next four years. Hopefully, you were able to gain understanding and clarity of Biden’s actions so far.


Works Cited

Honderich, Holly, and Samantha Dissanayake. “Kamala Harris: Who Is Biden’s Running Mate in 2020 US Election?” BBC News, 8 Oct. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-53728050.

Montanaro, Domenico. “6 Takeaways from President Biden’s Inauguration.” NPR.org, 21 Jan. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/01/21/958981628/6-takeaways-from-president-bidens-inauguration.

Parekh, Marcus. “What Executive Orders Has President Joe Biden Signed?” The Telegraph, 23 Jan. 2021, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/joe-biden-executive-orders-action-president-signed-reverse-trump-policies/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Swasey, Benjamin. “NPR Cookie Consent and Choices.” Npr.org, 2021, www.npr.org/sections/president-biden-takes-office/2021/01/26/960857706/the-biden-administration-is-working-to-buy-200-million-more-covid-19-vaccine-dos.