US President Joe Biden makes a great start with his pro-people programme

The measures were sweeping for a first day in office but Democrats said that situation was such domestically that there was no scope for waiting and the President acted with every sense of emergency

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@WhiteHouseHstry
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@WhiteHouseHstry

Nitya Chakraborty

President Joe Biden has given a great start to his four year tenure as the President of the United States of America by announcing a massive programme which not only rolls back some of the racial and anti-people policies of the Trump regime, but also includes a few pro-people policies which are of immediate importance to the common American people.

For the underprivileged Americans, Biden’s announcement of more relief to the unemployed along with the $1400 stimulus as also freezing the payment of educational loans along with interest and principal, are major measures which the left in the Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders has been demanding.

President Joe Biden signed a blizzard of executive orders on Wednesday on the coronavirus, immigration and climate change - launching a 10-day cascade of directives reversing the policies of his GOP predecessor as Democrats pushed for even more prompt legislative action. The measures were sweeping for a first day in office but the Democrats said that the situation was such domestically that there was no scope for waiting and the President acted with every sense of emergency.

The President urged Americans to don face coverings for 100 days while reviving a global health unit in the National Security Council – allowed to go dormant during the Trump administration – to oversee pandemic preparedness and response. Biden also began to reverse several steps taken by former president Donald Trump by embracing the World Health Organization, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

Biden, who entered the White House amidst an unprecedented crisis, said he wants to move quickly to address the country's big and urgent problems with a spirit of unity and national purpose. The pandemic has killed 400,000 Americans, the economy has shed millions of jobs and just two weeks ago, thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the November 3 elections.

The way the new Biden administration organised the inauguration ceremony conveyed the message of racial harmony and the feeling that the American democracy is finally rooting for its holistic character which is the essence of the American constitution. The four years of Trump rule was an aberration and Biden has got the mandate to run a unified nation which will move towards left of former President Obama in terms of policy implementation.

Most of the 17 directives that Biden signed on Wednesday had been hinted at previously by Biden or his staff members. Taken together with the two legislative plans he has sent to Congress – coronavirus relief and an immigration overhaul – the orders highlight Biden's immediate priorities, while sending a message that his administration plans to reengage on the global stage.

In fact, 15 executive actions and two additional agency directives issued on the first day were far more than what Trump did on his inaugural day in 2017.

White House officials have emphasized the need for Congress to approve his larger relief package, which would extend unemployment benefits; dole out an additional $1,400 in stimulus payments for millions of Americans; and devote tens of billions of dollars to economic needs such as rental, housing and food assistance, among other measures.

Further, Biden asked the Education Department to consider extending a freeze on both interest and principal payments for federal student loans until September 30, while requesting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extend a moratorium on evictions that expire after this month to at least through March.

He also asked three key agencies – the Department of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development – to extend foreclosure moratoriums for federally-backed mortgages under their purview through at least the end of March. This is intended to give time to the affected people and the administration so that the intervening period is used to work out suitable policy in the interest of the concerned people.

On immigration, Biden signed an order repealing the ban on travel from several Muslim-majority nations, while nullifying the Trump administration's directive that attempted to exclude the counting of non-citizens from the U.S. census. This helps the Democratic Party in establishing its non-discriminatory attitude to the religious minorities and facilitating the process of restoring confidence of the Muslims who were feeling threatened during the Trump era.

Another action called on the Department of Homeland Security to continue an Obama-era initiative protecting "dreamers" from deportation and issuing them work permits as long as they qualified under the requirements laid out when the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, began in 2012. This action will be of relief to thousands of immigrants including those from India. Biden will also end the national emergency over the border that Trump declared as a way to circumvent Congress when lawmakers would not grant him funding for his wall.

On climate change, Biden signed an order revoking the permit, issued by the Trump administration, that allowed for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and to rejoin the Paris climate accord. The United States will officially be part of the 189-country climate agreement in 30 days.

The coming executive actions will revoke the ban on transgender people from serving in the military, as well as reversing the so-called global gag rule that blocks U.S. aid to organizations abroad that perform abortions or offer counseling on the procedure. The Biden victory was hailed by the LGBTQ community and many of the elected Congress members of the Democratic Party are active supporters of the community. They expect more affirmative action by the Biden regime in support of their demands.

The test of the Biden regime will be in terms of foreign policy, especially in relation to Cuba, Venezuela and other countries of Latin America. The Sanders group in Democratic Party is now very powerful in the policy making committee of the Party. Sanders played a vital role in the working on the domestic programme. His ‘medicare for all’ will be taken up as one of the coming agenda. To what extent the left asserts in the policy committee in respect of foreign policy, will determine the course of future action by the Biden administration.

For the Sanders group, the battle has started well but many more are still left to be done.

(IPA Service)

(Views expressed are personal)

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