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Biden plans policy blitz to reverse Trump era on his first day in office

New president to order $1.9trn stimulus as America flounders

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National Guards move towards the US Capitol as they prepare for Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty

National Guards move towards the US Capitol as they prepare for Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty

National Guards move towards the US Capitol as they prepare for Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty

Joe Biden aims to hit the ground running with a blizzard of executive orders on his first day in office.

Mr Biden plans to rejoin the Paris climate accord, end Donald Trump’s travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries and order masks to be worn in federal buildings.

The orders will represent the opening salvo of a flurry of activity over the first 10 days of the Biden administration, aimed at rolling back many of the policies introduced by Donald Trump.

Mr Biden also intends to introduce legislation for a $1.9 trillion (€1.6trn) relief package and immigration reform.

His ambitious programme was outlined in a memorandum circulated at the weekend by Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff.

“During the campaign, President-elect Biden pledged to take immediate action to start addressing these crises and build back better,” Mr Klain wrote.

“As president, he will keep those promises and sign dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda and directives to cabinet agencies in fulfilment of the promises he made.”

The 78-year-old will assume office with the country reeling from the pandemic, which has claimed more than 395,000 lives and devastated the economy, with 7.3 million people looking for work. Millions more are struggling after having their working hours cut.

Tackling the pandemic and breathing life into the flagging economy will be top priorities for Mr Biden.

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The day after the inauguration, Mr Klain wrote, the president will “sign a number of executive actions to move aggressively to change the course of the Covid-19 crisis and safely reopen schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards”.

Mr Biden has pledged to turbo-charge the vaccination strategy, aiming to inoculate 100 million people in 100 days. The Trump administration has come under fire for the slow rollout of the inoculation programme, with states accusing the federal government of failing to deliver the quantities of vaccine promised.

“We’re inheriting a huge mess here, but we plan to fix it,” Mr Klain told CNN’s State of the Union.

Mr Biden will increase the supply of vaccine by invoking the Defence Production Act. He will ask Congress for $415bn in emergency spending to cover the cost of production, testing and inoculation centres.

This would be included in a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, including payments of $1,600 to every American. His chances of passing the measures have improved after Democrats won control of the Senate.

Mr Klain told CNN that Mr Biden, in his inaugural address to the nation, would deliver “a message of moving this country forward. A message of unity. A message of getting things done”. He added: “I think there are people in both parties we can work with to move this agenda forward.”

Kamala Harris, his vice-president, will have the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

On Thursday, Mr Biden would sign orders related to Covid-19 aimed at reopening schools and businesses and expanding virus testing, Mr Klain said.

Other actions would include extending the pause on student loan payments and actions to prevent evictions and foreclosures for those struggling during the crisis.

“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Mr Klain said in the memo.

“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.”

He admitted, however, that “full achievement” of Mr Biden’s goals would require Congress to act,

Incoming presidents traditionally move swiftly to sign an array of executive actions on taking office.

Mr Trump did the same, but found many of his orders challenged and even rejected by courts. Mr Biden’s orders are not expected to follow the same path.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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