President Biden has signed a blizzard of executive orders since taking office on January 20. With a few strokes of a pen, Biden reversed a slew of policies from former President Donald Trump, a goal to completely erase the legacy of his predecessor.
“President-elect Biden will take action—not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration—but also to start moving our country forward,” a memo from his chief of Staff Ron Klain stated just before Biden was sworn in that outlined his first two weeks of his presidency.
During his 10-day cascade so far, Biden has signed 25 executive orders, more than double the amount of the past seven presidents combined. Over the same timeframe, Trump signed 7 executive orders while former President Obama signed 9.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Biden’s dependency on executive action goes against his pledge as a candidate to be a consensus builder. During his Senate floor speech Thursday morning, McConnell brought up a comment Biden said as a candidate during an ABC’s Townhall before the election where he stated that “you can’t legislate by executive action unless you are a dictator.”
“I have this strange notion. We are a democracy. Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democratic friends even say: well if you can’t get the votes, by executive order you’re going to do something, things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator,” Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
The liberal New York Times are also sounding the alarm of Biden using his pen frequently out of the gate. Last week, the editorial board ran an opinion piece headlined “Ease up on the Executive Actions, Joe.”
Here is a list of the orders, memorandum, and proclamations Biden has signed in his first 10 days in the Oval Office. This list was last updated since his signature on Jan. 28.
January 20 — Day One
Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis
Revoked the Keystone XL pipeline permits to move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and directs agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment. The permit for Keystone XL was reinstated by Trump after it was first canceled by President Obama in 2015.
Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government
Rescinding Trump’s 1776 Commission, a panel Trump established as a response to the New York Times’ 1619 Project
Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
Order prohibiting workplace discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation and gender identity and directing federal agencies to ensure protections for LGBTQ people are included in anti-discrimination statutes.
Proclamation on Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Southern Border of the US and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction
Terminates the construction and funding of Trump’s signature wall on the U.S.-Mexican border by proclaiming the “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration Trump used to fund it.
Memorandum on Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Strengthen Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Memorandum on Modernizing Regulatory Review
Directing the Office of Budget and Management to oversee an effort to “modernize and improve” the regulatory review process.
Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States
Reversed Trump’s policy that barred entry to the U.S. for refugees and residents from seven predominantly Muslim countries and orders plans within 45 days for resuming visa processing.
Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing
Mandates mask-wearing and social distancing on all federal properties due to Biden’s lack of authority to institute a nationwide mask mandate
Executive Order on Organizing and Mobilizing the United States Government to Provide a Unified and Effective Response to Combat COVID-19 and to Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security
Creates the position of Covid-19 response coordinator, who will advise the president and oversee the distribution of vaccines, tests, and other supplies.
Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities
Revoking a Trump-era policy that cracked down on communities shielding undocumented immigrants from deportation, Biden vowed to “protect national and border security” and “address the humanitarian challenges at the southern border.”
Executive Order on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation
Biden’s order scrapped a batch of Trump-era executive actions that restricted how federal agencies make regulatory changes, including one measure requiring agencies to discard two regulations for every one proposed.
Executive Order on Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census
Overturns Trump’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the 2020 census count
Executive Order on Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel
Biden signed an order requiring all government appointees to sign an ethics pledge prohibiting the acceptance of gifts from registered lobbyists and lobbying for at least two years after exiting the government.
Pausing Federal Student Loan Payments
Biden requested an extension of the freeze on federal student loan payments
Memorandum Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
Blocks the deportation of Liberian refugees living in the U.S., reinstating the deferment of their enforced departure granted by the Bush and Obama administrations. Extending the deferred deportation of Liberians through the end of June 2022.
Proclamation of A National Day of Unity
Declaring a National Day of Unity on Jan. 20, 2021.
Memorandum Regulatory Freeze Pending Review
Directing the Office of Management and Budget to make recommendations to modernize regulatory processes.
January 21 — Day Two
Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
Biden mandates Americans to wear a mask while traveling on all forms of public transportation, including in airports, airplanes, and buses.
Executive Order on Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19
Biden’s order has directed the secretary of health to support research on Covid-19 treatments and increase support for critical care and long-term care facilities like nursing homes
Executive Order on Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats
Order directing all department and agency heads to “facilitate the gathering, sharing and publication of Covid-19-related data” in order to inform their decision-making and public understanding of the pandemic.
Memorandum to Extend Federal Support to Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States
Directs the secretaries of defense and homeland security to support governors’ deployment of the National Guard in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which will be fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Executive Order on a Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain
Biden’s order invokes the Defense Production Act to ramp up supplies for the pandemic response and requested the heads of various departments to assess the nationwide availability of personal protective equipment and other resources needed to distribute Covid-19 tests and coronavirus vaccines, as well as to develop a strategy to manufacture supplies for “future pandemics and biological threats.”
Executive Order on Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery
Creates the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will provide recommendations on the allocation of resources and funding in light of “disparities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity and other factors.”
Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers
In consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education will develop guidance for schools “in deciding whether and how to reopen, and how to remain open, for in-person learning; and in safely conducting in-person learning.”
Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety
Directs the Department of Labor to revise and issue new guidance for employers to promote the health and safety of their workers, such as mask-wearing in the workplace.
Executive Order on Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce for COVID-19 and Other Biological Threats
Establishes pandemic testing board that will coordinate national efforts to “promote Covid-19 diagnostic, screening and surveillance testing,” as well as facilitate the distribution of free Covid-19 tests to those without comprehensive health insurance.
January 22 — Day Three
Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Biden’s order directed all government departments and agencies to “promptly identify actions they can take within existing authorities to address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.”
Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce
Requesting the Department of Labor consider clarifying its rules to establish that workers “have a federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health,” and that workers who do so will still qualify for unemployment insurance.
January 25 — Day Six
Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform
Biden repealed the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military and ordered the defense secretary to “immediately prohibit involuntary separations, discharges and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to their gender identity.”
Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease
Biden reinstated Covid-19 travel restrictions affecting non-U.S. citizens traveling from Brazil and much of Europe, which Trump had scrapped days before his term ended. Additionally, the ban will bar most non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa, where a new strain of Covid-19 has been identified.
Executive Order on Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers
In an effort to bolster American manufacturing, Biden signed an executive order directing agencies to strengthen requirements about purchasing products and services from U.S. workers and businesses and to “close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences.”
January 26 — Day Seven
Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies
Biden order directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “examine the effects of the previous Administration’s regulatory actions that undermined fair housing policies and laws” and use its findings to implement the Fair Housing Act’s standards as needed.
Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities
In an effort to terminate the federal government’s use of privately owned detention facilities, the Attorney General has been directed to halt the renewal of federal contracts with private prisons.
Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships
Reaffirms a Clinton-era policy mandating all department and agency heads regularly consult with tribal officials on policy matters that may affect them.
Memorandum on Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States
Urges the Department of Health and Human Services to consider issuing guidance on cultural competency and sensitivity toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as part of the nation’s Covid-19 response. Additionally, the order directed the attorney general to work to prevent discrimination and hate crimes.
January 27 — Day Eight
Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
In accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change, Biden’s order plans to tackle climate change called for the U.S. to determine its target for emissions reduction and directed federal agencies to incorporate climate considerations into their international plans. The order also directed agencies to purchase American-made, zero-emission vehicles in an effort to create union jobs as part of Biden’s “Buy American” agenda, suspend new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and conserve at least 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030.
Additionally, the order established the Office of Domestic Climate Policy and a national climate task force, as well as a working group to assist communities impacted by coal mining and power plants and an environmental justice council to “address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.”
Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
According to Biden’s memorandum, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy will review agency policies on scientific integrity, and agencies that oversee research must designate a senior employee to “ensure agency research programs are scientifically and technologically well-founded and conducted with integrity.”
Executive Order on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
The president will solicit input from a council of advisors on science and technology, which will advise Biden on “scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.”
January 28 — Day Nine
Executive order reinforcing Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act
Directing agencies to re-examine policies to review any policies that may hinder access to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid and recommending the opening of a three-month enrollment period for uninsured Americans.
Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad
Revoked the “Mexico City policy,” a Reagan-era policy reinstated by Trump that blocks federal funding to foreign organizations that perform abortions or provide abortion counseling or referrals.
Additionally, Biden directed the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate whether to rescind Trump regulations under the Title X family planning program.
Upcoming February 2
End “Remain in Mexico” program aimed at Central American asylum seekers, start roll back of “public charge rule,” which imposes a wealth test on would-be immigrants, and create task force to reunite migrant families separated at the border.