Biden’s Executive Orders Signal A Dramatic Shift From Previous Administration

Among the executive actions, Biden signed an order to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Biden spent his first night in the Oval Office signing a slew of executive orders reversing Trump-era policies.

In total, the new president signed 15 executive actions and issued two agency directives, far more than his predecessors combined on their first days in office, signaling a dramatic shift in tone from the previous administration.

Among the executive actions, Biden signed an order to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, extending from existing protections afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and in the Surpreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020). 

“Biden’s executive order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a president of the United States,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a statement. “The full slate of Day One Executive Orders mark a welcome shift from the politics of xenophobia and discrimination to an administration that embraces our world, its people, and its dreamers.” 

Biden also signed an executive action that requires federal agencies to promote racial equity through an assessment of their current practices and to direct federal funds to underserved communities.  

Executive actions in response to the coronavirus include a mask requirement on federal property and the creation of a coordinated federal response to the crisis that invokes the Defense Production Act to produce protection equipment, vaccines, and needed medical supplies. 

On immigration, Biden signed orders to preserve and fortify DACA and to end both the construction of a southern border wall and the ban on travelers coming from predominantly Muslim countries. 

The new president has also taken action to reverse the previous administration’s policies regarding environmental protections and regulations. In addition to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, Biden has also signed an executive action that, among other things, revokes the Keystone Pipeline Permit of March 2019 and places a temporary halt on federal drilling in the Arctic Refuge.


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