By: Angel Liang — Correspondent
Ever since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, he has gotten right to work on signing his executive orders. So far Biden has signed 31 executive orders, from EO 13985 to EO 14015. CNN Politics divides these executive orders into the following categories: coronavirus, immigration, equity, economy, environment, national security, health care, census, ethics, and regulation. According to USA Today, Biden has signed a historical number of executive orders compared to previous Presidents Trump and Obama.
This has come with its criticisms, with critics calling Biden a dictator with his usage of executive orders. However, USA Today says that “It’s worth noting that Biden explicitly campaigned on a promise to sign executive orders — both targeted at reversing Trump policies and addressing the coronavirus — if he was elected.”
Another note is that Presidents can also issue, besides executive orders, proclamations and memorandum (memo for short). There are subtle differences between the three such as proclamations mainly dealing with the activity of private individuals and not having the force and effect of the law versus an executive order which can have the force of the law.
President Biden’s executive orders are also halved into reversals of Trump’s previous policies and other executive actions. Some policies he has rescinded are “industry-led apprenticeship programs,” the limiting of refugees entering the US, laws that have weakened LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers’ protections, the justification for separating families at the border, policies and guidelines that restrict immigration, funding for foreign nonprofits that promote abortion, tarriffs on aluminum, and more.
Two of Biden’s more controversial executive orders both fall under the environment category: the rejoining of the Paris climate agreement and the closing of the Keystone Pipeline. The latter has been heavily criticized since the Keystone Pipeline has resulted in the firing of American jobs. Another two of his executive orders on equity address racial discrimination, sexual orientation and/or gender identy discrimination in the workplace.
Some of these executive orders are also addressing the coronavirus and helping Americans by halting evictions and student loan payments during the pandemic. President Biden is working on expanding vaccine access, establishing a testing board and programs, and more directions to other departments of the government. His executive orders also focus on masking; Biden has mandated mask-wearing in airports and some other modes of transportation, and launching a “100 Days Masking Challenge” that requires masks and social distancing in federal buildings and lands.
The most recent executive order signed by President Biden was on February 24th that according to CNN, “launches a 100-day review of US supply chains for pharmaceuticals, critical minerals, semiconductors and large-capacity batteries, directing agencies to identify opportunities to secure and invest in those supply chains.” The New York Times gives another analysis of this executive order by saying that it “is intended to help insulate the economy from future shortages of critical imported components by making the United States less reliant on foreign supplies.” Some critical goods that have been running low in the US due to the pandemic include computer chips in automaking productions, masks for healthcare workers, and critical drugs for pharmaceuticals.
image from latimes.com