Last week, President Joe Biden signed over two dozen executive actions and proclamations, largely undoing many of Trump's most destructive policies. He primarily focused on bolstering the federal government's coronavirus response, reversing Trump's ass-backward environmental rollbacks, halting paranoid immigration policies, and attempting to provide a wee bit of economic relief.
This week, Biden has not slowed his roll in the slightest, so far adding seven more executive actions to the pile (not counting the ones scheduled for today). Those orders have reversed the transgender military ban, reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions, addressed racial equity in the U.S., and more. These executive actions can be pretty dry, so I'm hoping to make this a little fun for you.
Gulp down your coffee and join me on this bureaucratic ride:
Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform
31. Biden says trans people can serve in the military too. This order reverses a Trump-era policy that bans transgender Americans from the military, halting any involuntary discharges of trans troops. This makes me think of a sticker that I've seen a lot: Trans Liberation, Not U.S. Invasion! Also, can we talk about the graphics of this tweet?
President Biden fulfilled another crucial pledge, repealing the transgender military ban to ensure everyone who’s qualified to serve in the military can do so openly and free from discrimination. pic.twitter.com/b24PHI9OII
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 25, 2021
Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease32. Biden reinstates COVID-19 traveling restrictions for non-U.S. citizens traveling to the United States. Specifically for individuals coming from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, where variant COVID strains have proliferated. The order also restricts travelers coming from Ireland and the Schengen Area, where travel is allowed across open borders. This order reverses a relaxation of travel restrictions enacted by Trump during his final days in office.
Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers
33. Biden says yeeeeeeeeehaw! Buy American! This is Ol' Joe making good on a campaign promise to strengthen American manufacturing through the purchasing power of the federal government. This order closes loopholes in previous Buy American provisions and makes it harder for federal agencies to get waivers to buy overseas goods. Also! It commits to replacing the entire federal fleet of cars, SUVs, and trucks with American-made electric vehicles over time. Are Harris and Biden about to be besties in Tessies?
Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships
34. Biden wants to strengthen the relationship between the federal government and tribal governments. This memo affirms the sovereignty of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, directing federal agencies to communicate more regularly with indigenous officials on how policies might affect them.
Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities
35. Biden tells the Department of Justice to end its contracts with private prisons. This SOUNDS cool, but does not address facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security—like ICE detention centers—nor state prisons, where the majority of prisoners in the United States are held. We've got a long way to go.
Biden's instructions not to renew private prisons apply only to Department of Justice facilities and not to the Department of Homeland Security's detention facilities, Rice says. The Biden directive is "not in this instance applicable to those run by other agencies."
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) January 26, 2021
Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States
36. Biden disavows racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In complete contrast to President Trump referring to COVID as the "China Virus," in this memo Biden affirms his condemnation of racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. The memo also directs the Department of Justice on how to better collect data on anti-Asian hate incidents.
Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies37. Biden says wants another look at Trump's housing policies. In this memo, Biden tells the Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine the effects of the Trump administration's actions that undermined fair housing policies and laws, and correct them. It also acknowledges how shitty the federal government has been with housing policing, particularly the detrimental effects of redlining on Black communities as well as other communities of color and queer people. This acknowledgement is all well and good, Biden, but where are my reparations? Or at least my $2,000?