On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, President Biden signed a series of executive orders (EOs) aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief to American families, tackling climate change, advancing racial equality, preventing discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and protecting deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). The orders align with APA’s advocacy priorities on these public policy issues. However, some of the policy changes outlined in those EOs cannot take effect immediately. To the extent that the Biden administration seeks to undo an administrative action that was promulgated into law during the Trump administration, a reversal of those actions would require the new administration to comply with the procedures for a formal rulemaking process.

One of the EOs that President Biden signed, Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, rescinded Executive Order 13950 (Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping) of September 22, 2020, something APA has been advocating for since it was signed by former President Trump. The order, before being revoked, restricted diversity training across the federal government, including contractors. The EO promoting racial justice that Biden signed also includes revoking Executive Order 13958 (Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission), requiring the Domestic Policy Council to work with agencies to "embed equity principles, policies, and approaches across the Federal Government," and directing the Office of Management and Budget to promote equity in the president's budget proposal and report on strategies for equity in allocating federal funds.

In addition, the president’s EOs included several immigration orders. First, President Biden signed an EO to preserve and strengthen protections for (DACA) recipients and “Dreamers.” President Biden also signed an EO to revoke the Trump administration’s order that excluded noncitizens from the census. The president’s third EO related to immigration assures civil immigration enforcement policies. Another EO calls for a stop to construction of the wall along the Southern border of the United States. APA has advocated for the protection of Dreamers and keeping families together, which these EOs aim to do.

Finally, the new administration released an EO seeking to reverse or pause policies from the Trump administration related to climate change and environmental regulation. The order specifies many EPA regulations that may be identified for reconsideration, including the controversial science transparency rule finalized on January 6, 2021. The former rule would have severely weakened the role of rigorous science in decisions affecting the environment and public health. The Biden administration also rejoined the Paris climate accord and revoked the construction permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

For more information, contact Leo Rennie, MPA.