Biden plans blitz of executive actions to reverse Trump's contentious policies

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WASHINGTON • President-elect Joe Biden plans an early blitz of executive actions to reverse some of President Donald Trump’s most contentious policies and address the coronavirus pandemic, according to an outline of Mr Biden’s first 10 days in office.

The plan, spelt out in a memo on Saturday by Mr Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain to incoming White House advisers, will address what Mr Klain called “four overlapping and compounding crises”.

They are the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed close to 400,000 lives in the United States, the resulting economic downturn, climate change, and a national reckoning over racial equity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“In his first 10 days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world,” Mr Klain wrote. “President-elect Biden will take action not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration, but also to start moving our country forward.”

Mr Klain said Mr Biden would begin with about a dozen executive actions on Wednesday, Inauguration Day, a federal holiday usually devoted more to ceremonies and celebrations than the actual work of the presidency. But Mr Biden’s inaugural has been greatly scaled down because of the coronavirus outbreak and security concerns.

First-day directives will focus on measures to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, including an extension of student loan forbearance past Jan 31 and an extension of a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, according to Mr Klain. Mr Biden will also launch a “100 Day Masking Challenge”, imposing new mandates that require masks on federal property and for interstate transportation.

Typically, “Day One” is more a rhetorical concept for any new administration, with actions often rolled out over days, weeks or longer.

But during the campaign and since his election, Mr Biden has repeatedly promised action “on Day One”, creating what would be an overwhelming priority list.

Mr Klain’s memo is the transition team’s first effort to temper those expectations with an ambitious but achievable to-do list. Mr Biden will spread out some orders over the first 10 days “in order to highlight the actions the president-elect is taking,” Mr Klain said.

Other orders are waiting on a legal clearance process – a step Mr Trump often skipped in his first days, leading to confusion and legal challenges that sometimes required him to correct his own orders. Mr Klain emphasised that Mr Biden’s orders will restore “an appropriate, constitutional role for the president”.

BLOOMBERG

Bastion Balance Seoul.