For the last two years, president-elect Joe Biden has been telling America, as well as the rest of the world, what he plans to do on his first day in office, and the rest after that. Well, today is the day Biden! 20 January 2021 marks ‘go’, and to place one of his campaign statements against Donald Trump into a post-election America, the “battle for the soul of the nation” is about to really begin, and we’re hoping he’s as ready as we are to see it. To recap, what are Biden’s plans for his first few days as president, exactly?
First up, he’s going to address the not-so-tiny elephant in the room: COVID-19. First, Biden is planning on rejoining the World Health Organisation. Unfortunately (in the short term) this does mean an extension of nationwide restrictions, but positively this also includes restrictions on home evictions and foreclosures.
The president has also promised to continue the pause of student loan payments, and there will be a push for passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic relief plan, which will aim to increase vaccine capabilities, assist families needing direct financial support and provide emergency funds for cash-poor small businesses.
Biden will also be signing an executive order to formulate a plan to achieve 100 per cent clean energy economy and net zero emissions by 2050. This the first action on his long list of climate change improvements, as Trump was undeniably a bit of an unfriendly boy in his presidential times—he took himself and the US out of the Paris climate agreement, which is why Biden is planning on shaking some hands and say ‘sorry but can we be friends again?’.
Environment is also on the top of his list, and an executive order “to conserve 30 per cent of America’s lands and waters by 2030” will be made on his first day in office. Further down Biden’s presidency (but still in its first 100 days) he promises to also organise a “climate world summit” in order to push world leaders to tackle climate change more aggressively, especially when it comes to global shipping and aviation emissions. Biden doesn’t need congressional approval for this to go forward either, and the new president has also promised alongside this to pressure China into stopping the subsidising of coal and “outsourcing” pollution.
A bill will be sent to Congress on his first day in office “for legislative immigration reform that will modernise our immigration system,” as promised in his environmental justice plan. All of Biden’s first day decisions may take a while to eventualise, however, change always takes time to occur.
Although not on his immediate first-day to-fix list, Biden also plans to end the so-called ‘Muslim ban’ on travel, which restricts travel and immigration to the US from places like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and also recently Eritrea, Nigeria, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania.
Trump’s presidential term resulted in a repeal military ban on transgender rights, but Biden has promised to fix that and instead restore Obama’s guidance for transgender students in schools to align with their safety and gender identity, specifically allowing students to play the sports they pick and use bathrooms according to their own gender identity.
This leads me to America’s hopeful future for education, which Biden highlighted in his victory speech as important. He praised his wife, who is an English professor herself, and added: “For American educators, this is a great day for you all. You are going to have one of your own in the White House.” Jill Biden will also be the first Flotus to have a paid job outside of the White House.
The Equality Act bill is also aiming to be pushed through, which will provide more protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, and Biden has promised that one key effort in updating the ‘Violence Against Women Act’ that Biden as a senator authored in 1994, would be to include greater protection for transgender women.
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Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the term in 1933, ‘the first 100 days’ have been seen as a vital benchmark as to which the effectiveness of a president is measured against. And after the above list is ticked off, Biden will rely on Congress to approve many of the initiatives that he aims to accomplish in the 100 days after his first. This in itself is no easy task, but here is the rest of Biden’s to-do list which he relies on Congress for the ‘yes, OK Biden you may proceed’.
Biden’s initiative to “Build Back Better” will begin to take shape in February 2021, following an economic plan that was released during the general election. It involves Americans spending money on American made products, health services and infrastructure updates.
In order to pay for many of these to-do list items, Biden has stated that he would fight for the repeal of tax cut laws which Trump secured in 2017, and argued that the tax cuts currently in place favour the wealthier Americans.
Biden has pledged that in his first 100 days he will establish a new police oversight body to address institutional racism, and a bill is also expected to be drawn up to end gun background check ‘loopholes’ and repeal liability protection for gun manufacturers, which would allow US citizens to sue the gun industry if a gun is used in a crime.
The new president has also committed to tackling systemic racism in America, and stated in his victory speech that “At those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African-American community stood up again for me… You’ve always had my back and I’ll have yours.”
Overall, we expect Biden to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, strengthening international relations and improving relationships for the near future, and all we can do is wait and see if Congress approves the rest of his promises.
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The cold afternoon of 6 January, 2021, brought an excess of 82 arrests of Pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol as a protest against Joe Biden’s electoral win. With a total of five deaths and multiple injuries, the ‘peaceful gathering’ quickly turned into an afternoon of chaos, summoning the National Guard to help secure the building. In the hours that followed, Trump posted a one-minute video lamenting his electoral loss and urged his supporters to “go home” followed by a “We love you; you are very special.” The video was later taken down by Twitter, YouTube and Facebook citing it as ‘false information’ with ‘risk of violence’.
There is a lot that went down (in history as well) post 6 January. To start with, Trump now faces a second impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.” Amassing the majority of House votes, Trump currently awaits a Senate trial set to begin on 19 January, which would carry on even after the end of his presidential term. This gives us enough and more time to recapitulate every crazy bit of news revolving around his impeachment, don’t you think?
One of the most iconic American buildings was broken into. Pipe bombs were found and government laptops with highly sensitive security information were stolen. According to Fortune, Pro-Trump rioters could face serious penalties for these actions.
“Rioters with felony charges like unlawfully and violently entering the House floor could face five years of prison. Meanwhile, assaulting a federal officer with a weapon could mean 20 years of incarceration, particularly if the officer was injured” said Stanford University law professor David Sklansky.
The FBI is currently seeking information through a digital form that will assist them in identifying individuals who actively instigated violence in the Capitol. The form encourages the submission of images, videos and other multimedia files related to possible violations of federal law committed.
18-year-old Helena Duke took Twitter by storm after she named her mother, aunt and uncle spotted in a viral video filmed the night before the Capitol raid. The video highlighted a group of white Trump loyalists confronting a black woman who is later seen defending herself from an oncoming assault from Duke’s mother. Responses to her tweet were mixed. Some appreciated her efforts in helping identify potential rioters while others just labelled it “downright disrespectful.” Duke now joins an increasing list of families torn apart by Trump’s presidency.
Jenna Ryan, a Texas-based realtor and radio host allegedly took a private jet to Washington with three others to support what she claimed to be a “peaceful march” in protest of Joe Biden’s presidential win. As an attempt to join the #MarchToSaveAmerica, Ryan posted several photos and videos from the Capitol grounds on Twitter and Facebook. One tweet even featured her posing next to a broken window with the caption “Window at The capital. And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next…” Yes, we kept the spelling of this tweet intact…
Although Ryan continues to deny all allegations of entering the Capitol, her live-stream video broadcasted from inside the building while chanting ‘USA’ made it easier for the FBI to track her down, not to mention all of the other ‘circumstantial’ evidence.
After Facebook made the call to permanently suspend Trump’s account, Twitter followed suit. Ensuing a 24-hour suspension, Twitter pulled the plug on @realDonaldTrump, stating an extensive list of reasons via its blog post. The aftermath of this decision was a rocky one: several Trump loyalists threatened to leave the platform while critics dug up old meme templates to use.
The Twitter ban also sparked debates on Trump’s potential takeover of Melania’s account. Although no recent tweets have surfaced on the first lady’s personal and government account, some critics had a field day imagining the takeover.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recently been making headlines for ‘recycling’ the same black outfit she wore for Donald Trump’s previous impeachment back in 2019. The only change made to the entire ensemble was the substitution of the golden Mace of the Republic brooch with a patterned face mask. On impeachment days Nancy wears black. And honestly, we’re digging it!
14 January recorded a rare sign of Trump moving out of the White House. The pallets of cardboard boxes, according to NBC News, were delivered to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the Biden administration is set to take office on 20 January and further plans on deep cleaning the White House following multiple outbreaks of the coronavirus on White House grounds.
With an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to his impeachment, the odds don’t look good for Trump. If not for the insurrection, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez states to impeach Trump for his now-infamous Georgia votes phone call. Either way, this second impeachment and conviction have strong chances to pave the way to the denial of all post-presidential perks for Trump. To begin with, this includes removing his name as a beneficiary to a number of taxpayer-financed benefits, denying a stipend of $200,000 per year and barring the possibility of a $1 million travel budget along with taxpayer subsidies.
These undeserved perks add to the growing list of reasons why the nation would hold its breath once the Senate reconvenes. Curious to know what Trump has to say about all this? Here’s his comment.