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President Joe Biden has signed his first executive orders, hours after taking the presidential oath today.
The first set of orders will see the US rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which Trump notoriously withdrew from in November 2020.
He has also signed a mandate which will make it compulsory to wear face masks in federal buildings and adhere to social distancing.
‘As we indicated earlier we’re going to be signing a number of executive orders over the next several days to weeks. Some of the executive actions that I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the coronavirus crisis and combat climate change in ways we haven’t done so far,’ the president said.
His third order dedicates economic support to ‘underserved communities’ and advances ‘racial equity’.
‘We’re gonna make sure we have some bedrock equality in how we treat people in healthcare,’ he said.
‘We’re gonna rebuild the economy. There’s no time to start like today. I’m gonna start by keeping the promises I made to the American people,’ he added.
They are the first of a string of executive orders Biden is expected to pass in his first 10 days of presidency.
Ahead of the inauguration today, his chief of staff, Ron Klain, presented a memo to senior members of his team, outlining the plans.
These include a lifting of the ‘Muslim ban’ implemented by Trump during his presidency, which restricted immigration into the US from a number of Muslim-majority countries. Biden is also expected to sign an order reversing this today.
He also plans to extend the pause on student loan repayments and actions that prevent evictions of those struggling during the pandemic.
Seeking to reform immigration laws, he will also provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are currently in the US illegally, according to the briefing.
Speaking to reporters from the Oval Office, Biden said: ‘This is going to be the first of many engagements we’re going to have in here. I thought with the state of the nation today there’s no time to waste. Get to work immediately.’
Of the outgoing president, Biden said Donald Trump had written him a ‘very generous letter’. ‘Because it was private I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous,’ he added.
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