Biden’s first week in office: What to expect

Joe Biden is set to be sworn in later today as the 46th president of the United States. The events leading up to this historic moment have been some of the most controversial and dramatic in living memory. Tensions were heightened even more two weeks ago when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in protest of what they believe to be rigged election results. With such an unprecedented road to this inauguration, what can we expect from Biden’s first week in office?

The inauguration 

Due to both the coronavirus and the heightened threat of more violence at the Capitol, this inauguration will be very different from previous years. Firstly, there will be unprecedented amounts of security after the events that unfolded in the Capitol two weeks ago when Trump supporters stormed the building. 

The inauguration will also be dramatically scaled back in size. The celebrations are said to be extremely limited, and spectators are discouraged from coming in person to see the president being sworn in. Alternatively, a livestream has been set up for those to watch online. For the small number of people allowed to attend, there will be mandatory masks, temperature checks, and social distancing in place.

In another unprecedented break from tradition, this will be the first inauguration in more than a 100 years that the outgoing president, Trump, will not attend the ceremony. 

Biden’s first week in office

After the inauguration, Biden is set to get straight down to business, signing a groundbreaking number of executive orders in his first days in office, as he attempts to undo some of Trump’s most controversial policies.

Re-join Paris climate agreement

One of Trump’s most contentious moves as president was when he announced that the United States would no longer be part of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement, which has now been adopted by 196 parties, aimed to enforce measures across a number of different countries that would prevent further dangerous climate change.

The U.S. first signed up to the agreement in 2016 under Barack Obama before Trump announced that he would be withdrawing the US from it a year later. At the time, Trump stated that he would only  “re enter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.”  Biden is set to reverse this withdrawal and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office. 

Reverse Trump’s travel ban

Another one of Trump’s most controversial actions as president was his travel ban. The travel ban was a series of executive orders brought about by Trump to restrict travel from a number of, mostly Muslim, countries to the U.S. The ban was met with widespread criticism and protests. Biden has promised that he will reverse Trump’s travel ban during his first few days in office.

Immigration bill

Perhaps one of Biden’s more challenging promises for his first week in office is a proposed immigration bill. The bill aims to provide a path to legal citizenship for illegal immigrants living in America. Immigration is an extremely contentious issue in American politics; therefore, getting this bill passed may prove to be hard for the newly elected president.

COVID-19 economic package

Last week, Joe Biden announced plans to implement a massive $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan to help pull the United States out of the economic downfall it is facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The money is set to be used for a number of different purposes. Firstly, the recovery plan is set to provide $1,400 cheques for most Americans and include an extension of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium until September. The plan also aims to fund mass vaccination distribution across the United States in the coming months. The economic recovery plan is set to be proposed to Congress sometime this week.

Mask wearing  mandatory on federal property and travelling interstate

Unlike Trump, who frequently downplayed the coronavirus pandemic, Biden appears to take the virus very seriously. Currently, more than 24 million people in the United States have been infected with the virus, with close to 400,000 deaths. Last week, Biden announced that, in the early days of his presidency, he would take steps to make face masks mandatory on both federal property and while travelling between states. 

Plans to reunite illegal immigrant children with parents 

Another of Trump’s most controversial policies was to separate families that were attempting to cross the border into America illegally. The policy saw many children separated from their parents and kept in poor conditions, which was met with widespread condemnation. Biden has stated that during his first week in office he will sign off on an executive bill to reunite more than 600 children with their parents.

Biden’s first week in office is shaping up to be one of the busiest for any president in living history as he sets out to reverse former president Trump’s legacy and build a better path to his own.

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Aoife McDowell

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