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What's on Biden's diary for the first few days

US President Joe Biden leaves after attending a virtual swearing-in ceremony of political appointees from the State Dining Room of the White House. (AP)Premium
US President Joe Biden leaves after attending a virtual swearing-in ceremony of political appointees from the State Dining Room of the White House. (AP)

  • President Joe Biden's first call to a foreign leader will be to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
  • On Wednsday, the President signed a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic

President Joe Biden is moving swiftly to dismantle Donald Trump's legacy on his first day in office, signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new president signed the orders just hours after taking the oath of office at the Capitol, pivoting quickly from his pared-down inauguration ceremony to enacting his agenda. With the stroke of a pen, Biden ordered a halt to the construction of Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, ended the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries, declared his intent to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization and revoked the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline

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Here's what's on President Joe Biden diary

President Joe Biden's to call Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

President Joe Biden's first call to a foreign leader will be to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday -- with the fate of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the agenda.

"His first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," Psaki told reporters at her first White House briefing.

She said they would discuss their "important relationship," and the Biden administration's decision to halt further construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the United States.

Trudeau said he was "disappointed" by the move, which came shortly after

All the things the President did today

Biden ends Trump's Muslim travel ban, Mexico wall construction

In a sharp departure from his Republican predecessor, Biden just hours after being sworn in also sent an immigration bill to Congress that proposes opening a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States unlawfully.

The executive actions, signed at a ceremony at the White House, included immediately lifting a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reversing a Trump order preventing migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted for congressional districts.

Biden also signed a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. attorney general to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects migrants who came to the country as children from deportation, and reversed Trump's executive order calling for stricter immigration enforcement away from the country's international borders.

Immediately after the actions were announced, DHS said it would end all enrollments in a controversial Trump program - known as the Migrant Protection Protocols - that forced more than 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for U.S. court hearings. The release did not clarify what will happen to migrants currently in the program, many of whom have been stuck for months in squalid tent camps near the southwest border.

Biden issues orders requiring masks in federal buildings

President Joe Biden signed an order on Wednesday requiring masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings and the development of a testing program for federal employees for COVID-19, in a first step to combat a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.

Biden's order, the first one he signed at the White House hours after taking office, says federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings or on federal lands should "wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines."

Biden will leave mechanics of Trump impeachment trial

Biden will leave the mechanics of how to proceed with former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial to the U.S. Senate, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

"We are confident that ... the Senate ... can do their constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the American people," Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.

"He's going to leave the mechanics, the timing and the specifics of how Congress moves forward on impeachment to them."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to send the article of impeachment to the Senate. According to Senate rules, the Republican former president's trial would start the day after the charge is sent over.

Biden to remake US role in climate crisis

Biden committed the United States to rejoining the Paris climate accord, blocked an oil pipeline project and froze Arctic drilling in a raft of executive orders signed hours after taking office Wednesday.

Biden's administration announced plans for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Indigenous Gwich'in.

But for the Democrat who has pledged to roll back four years of environmental harm done by his predecessor Donald Trump, that's just the start.

Experts say that Biden will have to rebuild the credibility the US lost in the eyes of the international community, by setting concrete goals for emissions reductions on the path to net zero by 2050.

Next, he'll need to realize his $2 trillion climate plan, which would place green action at the heart of the economy and its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, while ensuring a long term shift that can't be rapidly undone under a future Republican president.

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