US

Biden signs record number of executive actions in first week

Biden signs record number of executive actions in first week

President Biden has signed a record 37 executive actions in his first week in office, and the exact number of executive orders is not known because the Federal Register has not been updated since Jan. 21.

With just six days in office under his belt, the 46th commander-in-chief has issued more edicts in his first week than any of his predecessors.

Executive orders are legally binding, and as a result, are published in the Federal Register. Executive actions, by contrast, are more often symbolic efforts to enact change.

On Tuesday, Biden signed four items, all focused on “racial equity.”

The first order directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address the issue of housing discrimination.

The second action, which was also an order, instructed the Justice Department to not renew federal contracts with privately-run prisons.

The third item, ordered the federal government to engage with tribal governments.

The fourth action, which does not appear to have been an order, condemned anti-Asian bias, which saw a spike in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Joe Biden pauses as he signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. 
President Joe Biden signing his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The president has signed 10 orders related to invoking the Defense Production Act and launching his COVID-19 response, and 15 orders that addressed other policy differences between Biden and his predecessor.

Of those 15 orders, Biden halted construction of the southern border wall and the travel ban from countries with heightened terror concerns, two signature campaign proposals from former President Donald Trump.

Other actions include rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, which Trump withdrew the US from in 2017, as well as the World Health Organization, which Trump withdrew from due to the agency’s botched handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has also signed orders extending moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, and deferrals on student loan payments, as well as halting construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, counting non-citizens in the US census and strengthening workplace discrimination protections based on sex and gender.

In another action, he called on Congress to grant permanent status to Dreamers as part of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump challenged in court.

A set of pens with President Joe Biden's signature.
A set of pens with President Joe Biden’s signature.
EPA/Al Drago / POOL

Regarding his Covid-19 strategy, Biden has issued orders creating a pandemic testing board focused solely on increasing test availability nationwide, with a focus on schools, as well as requiring the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide federal guidance on reopening, “with the goal of getting a majority of K-8 schools safely open in 100 days.”

In the first hours of his presidency in January 2017, Trump signed a single executive order focused on “minimizing the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act as his administration began work to repeal it.

Additionally, then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a memo on the president’s first night in office directing an immediate “regulatory freeze,” preventing federal agencies from implementing or issuing any new regulations.

A Biden administration spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the record number of executive orders.

President Biden signing executive orders on January 20, 2021.
President Biden signing executive orders on January 20, 2021.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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James Thompson

James Thompson has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Report Door one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

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