President Joe Biden’s first 24 hours in the White House featured a dizzying wave of executive orders and immediate actions on everything from Covid-19 to climate change as the new administration immediately got to work following the Inauguration Day ceremonies.
The festivities had not yet ended by Wednesday night as the new president was swearing in his White house staff during a televised event, demanding his appointees help “restore the soul of this country” by leading with respect for others and warning of the consequences if they don’t: “I will fire you on the spot.”
Whereas some had assumed a Biden administration would bring a swift and boring return to normalcy, the White House hit the ground running with at least 17 executive orders and a range of new domestic and international policies — all of which were announced before a massive fireworks display lit up Washington in celebration of the new president, who watched from the White House balcony alongside First Lady Dr Jill Biden.
Read more: Follow live updates and news on Biden’s first days in office
Work within the West Wing continued late into the night and early in the morning as Mr Biden’s staff sought to have the new policy priorities immediately implemented, from a mask mandate requiring those on federal grounds observe the coronavirus safety measure to the overturning of former President Donald Trump’s legacy.
It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours since the president was sworn in on the footsteps of the US Capitol. Here are some of the most notable actions Mr Biden and his administration have taken since:
Rejoined the World Health Organization and announced Dr. Anthony Fauci would serve as the head of the US delegation
Ended the previous administration’s travel restrictions on several Muslim majority countries
Swore in nearly 1,000 new administration appointees via Zoom
Cancelled permits for the Keystone XL oil pipeline
Created a new presidential appointee role, the COVID-19 Response Coordinator to assist with national vaccine distribution efforts
Launched the “100 Days Mask Challenge,” including an executive order mandating mask wearing on federal grounds and encouraging Americans to wear masks for 100 days
Extended the nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium until at least the end of March
Strengthened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program via executive order
Avril Haines confirmed as the first woman to lead USIC as the new director of national intelligence
Rescinded the 1776 Commission, created under the Trump administration to help reshape how public schools teach the history of slavery
Rejoined the Paris Climate Accord via executive order
Reversed components of immigration enforcement expansion under previous administration via executive order
Paused student loans payments and the accruing of interest on all federal student loans until at least the end of September
Ordered a regulatory review at the Office of Management and Budget to undo the previous administration’s regulatory approval process
Halted the construction of new border security installations along the US-Mexico border
Announced new executive orders for school and business reopening plans
Ordered the inclusion of non-US citizens in the Census
Implemented new ethics pledges for executive branch employees
Signed executive order preventing workplace discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation
Extended work authorizations and deportation deferrals for select immigrants until at least June 2022
Attended the Virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service alongside the first lady, vice president and second gentleman
Held the first White House press briefing led by Press Secretary Jen Psaki
Announced new executive orders to expand Covid-19 testing
Renovated the Oval Office, replacing interior decorations and adding a bust of Latino civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, as well as a portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Implemented White House Covid-19 precautions including mask wearing, frequent testing and new social distancing measures.
Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg began nomination hearings with the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee
Delivered additional calls for national unity with speeches by president and vice president at inauguration night concert
Created plans to host congressional leaders this week from both parties at the White House
Scheduled themed days for the next week to focus on specific policy priorities, including “economic relief,” “Buy America,” “Equity,” “Climate,” “Health Care,” “Immigration” and “Restoring America’s Place in the World.”
Prepared plans to overturn key Trump administration abortion policy restricting funding for overseas abortion providers
Redesigned the White House website to be more inclusive, with language translations and additional accessibility options
Ended the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols Policy, otherwise known as the Remain in Mexico policy.
Sent a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress to further undo the previous administration’s legacy
Placed a moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Added gender-neutral pronoun options to the online White House contact form