Administration

Biden signs first executive actions as president

President Biden signed his first executive actions on Wednesday afternoon, hours after being sworn in as the 46th commander in chief.

Biden, wearing a mask while seated at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, signed executive actions mandating mask use on federal property to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, rejoining the Paris climate agreement and extending support for underserved communities.

"I thought there's no time to wait. Get to work immediately," Biden told reporters. "There's no time to start like today."

The executive actions were among 15 items that Biden signed Wednesday on his first day in office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki later told reporters.

The actions represent an effort by Biden to turn a page on the administration of his predecessor, former President Trump, by reversing some of his more controversial policy moves, including the exit from the Paris climate accord.

On Wednesday, Biden also signed an order reversing Trump's effort to withdraw from the World Health Organization in the midst of the pandemic, reversing Trump's travel ban on majority-Muslim nations, rolling back regulatory reversals to safeguard the environment. Biden also sought to deliver relief to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic by extending a pause on student loan payments and moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures. 

In total, Biden is expected to sign 53 executive actions over the next 10 days across the areas of the economy, climate, health care and immigration, according to a document outlining a schedule for his forthcoming moves that was obtained by The Hill.

The executive actions represented some of Biden's first official acts as president after being sworn in at the U.S. Capitol earlier Wednesday afternoon. He also issued a proclamation declaring Wednesday a National Day of Unity.

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