President-elect Joe Biden has a slew of executive orders and activities planned for January 20 after he is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States at noon. Though the theme of Biden’s first inaugural address will be unity, several of Biden’s orders for his “Day One” agenda are guaranteed to be quite divisive.
Here are some of the biggest actions that the president is expected to take tomorrow afternoon.
Reinstating President Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Rule for Schools
President-elect Biden will reinstate President Obama’s rule (Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students) which said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects the right of students in public schools to use the bathroom of their choice based on their gender identity.
Title IX “encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status,” the letter stated.
Transgender students will be allowed to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice, meaning that biological males can use the female bathroom and vice versa.
The letter dismissed out of hand concerns that parents or teenage girls may have had with boys who believe they are girls deciding to use the girl’s bathroom or locker room. It said deference must be paid to the transgender student “even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns… the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”
President Trump rescinded the order in early 2017, citing the right of separate states to make the determination for themselves. “The president has made it clear throughout the campaign that he’s a firm believer in states’ rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level,” the White House said at the time.
When the original letter was written in May 2016, the Obama administration “warned that schools that defied the recommendation could be at risk of losing federal funds.”
At this point, it is unclear whether a Biden administration will also issue such a warning.
Resuming Taxpayer Funding for Planned Parenthood Global
President-elect Biden is also expected to issue an executive order to repeal the Mexico City Policy which prohibits taxpayer dollars from going to organizations that advocate for abortions overseas.
The policy was first enacted by President Ronald Reagan with the intent to protect innocent unborn life. Since then, every Democrat president has rescinded the rule after taking office, while every Republican president has reinstated it.
“I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization,” President Trump wrote reinstating the order on January 23, 2017.
Regarding President-elect Biden’s expected recission of the policy, Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson described the incoming administration as “tremendously exciting.”
“We have a ton of work to do to undo the harm over the last four years, but knowing we have champions there who understand what needs to happen in the first 100 days is tremendously exciting,” she said.
Rejoining the Paris Climate Accords
The new president will also immediately rejoin the United States in the Paris Climate Accords, an agreement between almost 200 nations formed ostensibly to reduce carbon emissions in order to slow down global warming and climate change.
President Obama initially agreed to join the United States in the compact, but President Trump withdrew from the agreement effective November 4, 2020.
According to CNBC, “the pact is a nonbinding agreement among nations to reduce emissions and keep the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels.”
Under the pact, each country sets its own goals in reducing their levels of emissions.
When President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement, he cited the harmful economic impact it would have upon American workers and the unfair goals imposed by other countries as two of the reasons for his decision.
“Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025… This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs.
I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States… while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters… China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years — 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years… The bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States,” the president said.
President-elect Biden is also expected to rescind President Trump’s travel ban on individuals from nine Muslim-majority countries and institute a mask mandate for federal buildings and interstate travel on “Day One.”
Biden’s expected flurry of activity beginning on the first day of his administration will remind all Americans that this maxim holds true: “Elections have consequences.”
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Photo from TOM BRENNER/REUTERS