As outgoing President Donald Trump is vacating the White House an hour before the swearing-in of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in Washington DC today, Jan 20, 2021, the new Biden-Harris administration is all set to kick off a 100-day plan to what it said was a 'healing touch' to the battered nation from the coronavirus pandemic.
Day One of Joe Biden's presidency will see a rash of executive orders in the first 100 days to push forward quick fixes on immigration, healthcare and a battered economy.
First up, on January 20, Biden will sign "roughly a dozen actions" to combat four crises, according to his Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Based on Biden's statements in recent days and a memo from Klain, here's what the early days will look like, mostly via executive action.
Day One of Joe Biden's Presidency
- Rejoining the Paris climate accord.
- Rejoining the World Health Organisation.
- Asking the Department of Education to extend the ongoing pause on student loan payments and interest for millions of Americans with federal student loans.
- Declaring ethical standards and prohibiting interference in Justice Department operations from other arms of government.
- Restoring 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration created and President Donald Trump wrecked.
- Ending restrictions on travellers from a variety of Muslim-majority countries.
- Launching a "100 Day Masking Challenge" by issuing a mask mandate on federal property and inter-state travel.
- Action to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.
- Beginning the process to rejoin the deal reining in Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
- Protecting from deportation people who came to the country illegally as children.
- Legislation proposing repeal of liability protections for gun manufacturers.
- Immigration legislation offering a path to citizenship for 11 million people in the US illegally. Under the legislation, those living in the US as of Jan 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status if they pass background checks and fulfill other basic requirements including paying taxes. From there, it's a three-year path to naturalisation.
- Biden also wants Congress to approve a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus.
Kamala Harris Oath Taking
Kamala Harris started her career with her left hand upon a 'Black woman's Bible' that has featured in every single big moment of her and it was there when she swore to defend the Constitution of the United States, as a Senator from California. "I carry Mrs. Shelton with me always," wrote Harris in a 2019 article in Bustle.
Shelton's Bible will be one of two that will feature at Kamala Harris' coronation at noon on Wednesday when she becomes America's first woman Vice President. "When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who'd speak up for the voiceless and help those in need: Justice Thurgood Marshall and Mrs Shelton," Harris posted on Twitter, barely 24 hours before she takes office.
The second Bible belongs to the late civil rights icon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, in a nod to his role in Harris' choice of Howard University for her graduation and in shaping her thinking to see law as a tool to bring equality. Marshall also graduated from Howard, a legendary school among historically black universities. Howard is only a short distance away by train from the White House.
The "Mrs Shelton" Harris invokes is Regina Shelton who owned three houses in a single block in Oakland, California, and ran a nursery school in one of them. This was a time when Kamala Harris' mother, newly separated from husband Donald Harris, was looking for help to care for her girls Kamala and Maya and also needed a place to stay. Gopalan and her daughters moved into an apartment above the nursery. The bonds soon grew so strong that Harris began referring to Shelton as her "second mother."
In an interview to Yahoo!, Shelton's nephew Aubrey LaBrie said Shelton used to ferry Kamala and Maya to a Baptist church in West Oakland every Sunday. The Bible on which Harris has taken all her oaths of office is the same Bible that Shelton carried with her to church. "That's been her amulet so to speak, her oracle, my aunt's Bible," LaBrie told Yahoo News in an interview.
Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday, extending the 'historic' tag to yet another first. Harris will be the first Indian and Black American woman Vice President taking her oath of office from the first Latina justice on the US Supreme Court.
(With inputs from IANS)