After being sworn in today, President Joe Biden took a number of actions aimed at advancing his agenda and undoing some of former President Donald Trump's directives.
Through executive orders, proclamations and other memoranda, Biden addressed issues such as COVID-19 mitigation, economic relief, combating climate change and advancing racial equity, many of which will have implications for U.S. contractors.
From environmental regulations to federal contracting rules, Biden's first actions as president that have ramifications for construction firms include:
Regulatory processes. Today, Biden issued a memorandum withdrawing the Trump administration’s regulatory process executive orders and directed the director of the Office of Management and Budget to develop recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review.
A rollback of Trump’s environmental actions. This sweeping executive order includes a range of actions that will negate Trump’s aggressive loosening of environmental regulations. As part of this action, Biden also:
- Directed federal agencies to consider revising vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards, methane emissions standards and appliance and building efficiency standards.
- Placed a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Revoked the presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Border wall construction. Biden declared an immediate termination of the national emergency declaration cited by the Trump administration to divert money to the building of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. The proclamation directs an immediate pause in wall construction projects to allow a close review of the legality of the funding and contracting methods used, and to determine the best way to redirect funds that were diverted by the prior administration to fund wall construction.
Face coverings. Biden called for a nationwide face mask and social distancing mandate in federal buildings, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors and asked all Americans to commit to wearing face coverings for 100 days.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The president signed the instrument to rejoin the Paris Agreement, allowing the United States to officially become a party to the agreement in 30 days.
Racial equity initiatives. The president signed an executive order designed to begin the work of rooting out systemic racism and other barriers to opportunity from federal programs and institutions. He also revoked Trump’s executive order limiting the ability of federal government agencies, contractors and some grantees from implementing diversity and inclusion training.
Repeal of Trump's immigration policies. Biden revoked a Trump executive order that directed harsh and extreme immigration enforcement.
Other actions Biden took today include re-engaging with the World Health Organization, creating a COVID-19 response coordinator, extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, extending the student loan pause and ending a travel ban from predominantly Muslim countries.
The new president also plans to continue rolling out executive orders in coming days, according to The Washington Post, including a “Buy American” action on Monday.