Ava Mac ‘21, Editor-in-Chief
Just hours after taking office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden got to work with no delay. Signing 11 executive orders on his first day alone, Biden began to fulfill his top campaign promises by rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change, canceling the Keystone XL permit, revising immigration enforcement policies, promoting racial equity, and coordinating a government-wide COVID-19 response.
Since then, he has carried out many more executive orders including banning private prisons, reversing the transgender military ban, and expanding access to reproductive health care—just to name a few. With his first month in office well under way, here are Biden’s plans for the month of February.
While the previous administration left much of the vaccine distribution process up to state and local leaders, Biden plans to have a stronger, more coordinated federal response in order to increase the pace of vaccination. Biden’s current goal is to administer 100 million doses within the first 100 days of his presidency and has proposed a $20 billion national vaccination program to make this possible. Under this program, the federal government will set up community vaccination centers and mobile vaccination units across the country. With the football season over, Biden has been in talks with the NFL to use their stadiums as mass vaccination sites. Biden also hopes to make vaccinations available at independent and chain pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid.
To aid the current economic crisis, Biden has outlined a $1.9 trillion dollar relief plan that would send a $1,400 stimulus payment to those eligible, now including adult dependents and households with mixed immigration status. Biden has also proposed to increase unemployment benefits to $400 a week and extend these payments through September, as well as increasing the child tax credit to $3,000 per child. On Feb. 5, the Senate approved the budget resolution needed to make this relief plan possible, meaning that the passage of the package itself is making good progress.
Biden has officially established climate change as a national security priority and has pledged to work towards a clean energy economy. Emma Newburger, a climate changer reporter for CNBC, said, “Biden’s executive agenda will also focus on creating green jobs and union opportunities as well as environmental justice for communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.”
Biden’s $2 trillion “Build Back Better” plan to invest in a better infrastructure will continue to be developed in the following weeks. According to Eugene Mulero, a senior reporter at Transport Topics, this plan’s main objectives are to “reinforce federal environmental regulations, adoption of autonomous vehicles, expand rural access to broadband, guarantee safe drinking water, and modernize highways, bridges and tunnels.”
Biden and his administration have a lot to tackle this month. But hopefully, with a more coordinated COVID-19 response, as well as a more defined plan to combat the climate change crisis and improve U.S. infrastructure, we can expect a brighter future ahead of us this February.