(Noted News) — Days into the new Biden administration, we are starting to catch glimpses of what the presidency should look like moving forward, as President Biden gets to work on sweeping changes in policy and attitude.
The new administration is starting to push for more COVID-19 related restrictions, such as requiring all people to wear masks in airports and on planes, plus enforcing quarantines for anyone who arrives in the United States from other countries.
Other measures include an executive order to require negative COVID-19 tests before flying to the US from any country, as well as masks on all federal properties. These measures will go beyond just airplanes; The Biden Administration also wants to require “mask-wearing in airports, on certain modes of public transportation, including many trains, airplanes, maritime vessels, and intercity buses.”
People who do not follow these orders are likely to be subject to fines, remedying the foggy rules of before where airlines did not have any course of action besides kicking people off planes or banning them for life.
Biden will also be reversing Trump’s decision to ease travel restrictions on January 26. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a tweet:
“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”
At the same time, the US’ top decider on COVID-19 related issues expressed a desire to enter the country into Covax, a coalition of 92 different countries to distribute and vaccinate people en masse, contrary to Donald Trump declining to join.
In a controversial move which may in fact be a false alarm, the US embassy in Israel changed its name on Twitter from “US Ambassador to Israel” to “The US Ambassador to Israel, The West Bank, and Gaza,” and then changed it back.
This polarized much of the Israel lobby, but a spokesperson for the embassy said the change “did not reflect a policy change or indication of future policy change.”
Jen Psaki also announced that the White House had sent an immigration bill to Congress:
“The president’s priority reflected in the bill [is] to responsibly manage the border, keep families together, grow our economy, address the root causes of migration from Central America, and ensure that America can remain a refuge for those fleeing [persecution].”
NPR curated some bullet points of the key things that Biden plans on doing.
-rejoin the World Health Organization
-ask federal agencies to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums through March 31
-ask the Education Department to extend the federal student loan payment and interest pause
through Sept. 30
-place a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
-begin to reverse more than 100 actions Trump took to roll back environmental regulations
-rescind Trump’s 1776 Commission and revoke Trump’s order limiting diversity training
-stop all wall construction at the Southern border
-reverse the Trump directive to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census numbers used to reapportion each state’s share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes
Biden is also expected to push through a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill to address damage caused by the COVID-19 restrictions.
This stimulus package will include:
-$25 billion in rental assistance
-$1400 per person
-$400 a week to those who have become jobless as a result of COVID-19, up from $300
-$350 billion to “front line” workers to combat COVID-19 by increasing testing, vaccine distribution, and building treatment centers
-$15 an hour minimum wage, and to end sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.
President Biden plans on bolstering small business growth as well to bring back some jobs. According to a CNN report, the president wants to promote racial equity with a plan to “fund state and local investment initiatives for Black and Brown entrepreneurs, as well as provide up of $100 billion in low-interest business loans to Black and Brown communities through state and local lending programs.”