Joe Biden’s first 48 hours: Tracking the new president’s policy actions as he works to undo Trump’s legacy

Chris Riotta
·7 min read
<p>President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States. </p> (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States.

(Getty Images)

President Joe Biden’s White House has made at least 75 notable policy actions since assuming the Oval Office on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for the new administration’s sweeping set of immediate priorities focusing on everything from the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution to immigration reform and climate change.

The inauguration ceremonies arrived on a work day in Washington: the new president did not spend much time partaking in Wednesday night’s festivities, instead swearing in over 1,000 White House staffers in a massive Zoom ceremony and signing 17 executive actions on his first day in office, all before a fireworks display lit up the nation’s capital.

Mr Biden’s first actions as president ran the gamut: the administration redesigned the White House website and added gender neutral pronoun options to its contact form as national security advisers held introductory calls with global allies. He rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and terminated his predecessor’s removal from the World Health Organization. By Thursday, an additional 10 executive orders were signed to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Biden’s first 24 hours as president

The Independent has tracked the new president’s first days in office, highlighting his significant policy reversals, announcements and new actions taken by the administration. The following list will be updated throughout his first 100 days in office.

Here are some of the most notable actions taken by the new White House:

  1. Rejoined the World Health Organization and announced Dr Anthony Fauci would serve as the head of the US delegation

  2. Ended the previous administration’s travel restrictions on several Muslim majority countries

  3. Swore in nearly 1,000 new administration appointees via Zoom

  4. Cancelled permits for the Keystone XL oil pipeline

  5. Created a new presidential appointee role, the Covid-19 Response Coordinator to assist with national vaccine distribution efforts

  6. Launched the “100 Days Mask Challenge”, including an executive order mandating mask wearing on federal grounds and encouraging Americans to wear masks for 100 days

  7. Extended the nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium until at least the end of March

  8. Strengthened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program via executive order

  9. Avril Haines confirmed as the first woman to lead USIC as the new director of national intelligence

  10. Rescinded the 1776 Commission, created under the Trump administration to help reshape how public schools teach the history of slavery

  11. Rejoined the Paris Climate Accord via executive order

  12. Reversed components of immigration enforcement expansion under previous administration via executive order

  13. Paused student loans payments and the accruing of interest on all federal student loans until at least the end of September

  14. Ordered a regulatory review at the Office of Management and Budget to undo the previous administration’s regulatory approval process

  15. Halted the construction of new border security installations along the US-Mexico border

  16. Announced new executive orders for school and business reopening plans

  17. Ordered the inclusion of non-US citizens in the Census

  18. Implemented new ethics pledges for executive branch employees

  19. Signed executive order preventing workplace discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation

  20. Extended work authorizations and deportation deferrals for select immigrants until at least June 2022

  21. Attended the Virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service alongside the first lady, vice president and second gentleman

  22. Held the first White House press briefing led by the press secretary, Jen Psaki

  23. Announced new executive orders to expand Covid-19 testing

  24. Renovated the Oval Office, replacing interior decorations and adding a bust of Latino civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, as well as a portrait of Benjamin Franklin

  25. Implemented White House Covid-19 precautions including mask wearing, frequent testing and new social distancing measures.

  26. Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg began nomination hearings with the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee

  27. Delivered additional calls for national unity with speeches by president and vice president at inauguration night concert

  28. Created plans to host congressional leaders this week from both parties at the White House

  29. Scheduled themed days for the next week to focus on specific policy priorities, including “economic relief”, “Buy America”, “Equity”, “Climate”, “Health Care”, “Immigration” and “Restoring America’s Place in the World”.

  30. Prepared plans to overturn key Trump administration abortion policy restricting funding for overseas abortion providers

  31. Redesigned the White House website to be more inclusive, with language translations and additional accessibility options

  32. Ended the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols Policy, otherwise known as the Remain in Mexico policy

  33. Sent a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress to further undo the previous administration’s legacy

  34. Placed a moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  35. Added gender-neutral pronoun options to the online White House contact form

  36. Fired Trump-appointed labor board general Peter Robb

  37. Established interagency group on societal impact of carbon pollution

  38. Asked Environmental Protection Agency to immediately reconsider methane regulations

  39. Announced intention to revoke transgender military ban

  40. Designated Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice to spearhead “robust, interagency” effort towards “rooting out systemic racism” in federal agencies.

  41. Proposed new Covid-19 national strategy

  42. Encouraged Congress to grant special waiver for defense secretary nominee Lloyd J Austin III

  43. Named acting Cabinet members until nominees slate can ben confirmed

  44. Withdrew previous administration’s order limiting diversity trainings

  45. Ordered federal agencies to develop plans to address “barriers to equal opportunity” in the next 200 days

  46. Suspended all gas development projects at national wildlife monuments

  47. Restructured immigration arrest priorities for ICE

  48. Re-examine federal funding to ensure equitable distribution in communities of color and low income areas

  49. Directed agencies to “consider revising vehicle fuel economic and emissions standards”

  50. Froze all last-minute regulatory actions taken by the previous administration

  51. Stopped referring to immigrants as “aliens” in paperwork and started using the word “non-citizens” instead

  52. New National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held introductory calls with France, Germany, the UK and Japan stressing the administration’s “intention to strengthen the transatlantic alliance”

  53. Created pathway to $15 national minimum wage via executive order

  54. Promoted expansion of federal workers’ rights vira executive order

  55. Sought to reduce hunger and increase food expansion for needy Americans via executive order

  56. Plans reported to resume processing thousands of stalled visas for select Afghans

  57. Ordered Treasury Department to identify Americans still awaiting stimulus payments

  58. Rescinded Schedule F for federal workers

  59. Included language in executive order encouraging schools to allow transgender athletes in girls’ sports

  60. Signed 10 additional executive orders on Thursday targeting Covid-19 relief, vaccine rollout and further reopening plans

  61. Established the Covid-19 Pandemic Testing Board to focus on expansion of test kits and access

  62. Issued memo directing Fema to increase federal reimbursement for National Guard costs to states and tribes

  63. Ordered Department of Education and Health and Human Services to create guidance for safe reopening of campuses

  64. Ordered Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide guidance for employees on how to reduce risk of exposure to Covid-19

  65. Issued executive order requiring face masks in airports and other certain modes of transportation

  66. Signed directive which “restores US leadership and seeks to support the international health and humanitarian response to the Covid-19 pandemic”

  67. Senate Finance Committee meets to confirm Janet Yellen, who would be the first female Treasury secretary in American history

  68. Announced plans to build a “national resource” making Covid-19 information “easier and more transparent” for Americans during the vaccine rollout

  69. Established preclinical program for expansion of therapeutics in pandemic threats

  70. Invoked Defense Production Act to help increase vaccine supply by 20 per cent nationwide

  71. Issued executive order laying groundwork to require federal workers offer emergency paid leave

  72. Announced plans to roll back three previous order from the Trump administration targeting collective bargaining protections

  73. Senate confirmed Biden’s defense secretary, General Lloyd Austin, after granting waiver, making him the nation’s first black defense secretary

  74. Designated Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as acting FCC chairperson

  75. Began receiving daily intelligence briefings, as well as joint briefings with the vice president on economic recovery efforts