VIDEO: President Biden signs long list of executive actions in first 48 hours

President freezes student loans in first hours in office

Joe Biden mask mandate

A mask mandate for federal property, as shared in this social media image by the White House, is among the executive actions of Joe Biden as President. Twitter screenshot

Noelle Mortensen, Multimedia Journalist, Newscene

In his first few hours after assuming office, President Joe Biden signed an executive action requesting that the Department of Education freeze student loans until September.

This request comes as federal student loans have already been paused for almost a year. In March, the government froze the loans as part of their pandemic response.

Borrowers of all ages are often faced with a tough tradeoff between making their student loan payments, investing in their long-term financial future, or paying their bills,” Biden’s administration officials wrote in a statement. “The pandemic has only increased the economic hardship of the millions of Americans who have student debt.

Biden has been in office 48 hours and he has already rolled out almost 75 significant actions and policies. 

With Covid-19 still looming, many Americans still face the hardships and repercussions of the pandemic. 

Biden’s freeze on student loans plays into his larger plan to end the $1.3 trillion loan crisis Americans are facing. He has plans to cancel $10,000 worth of student loan debt with the help of Congress in his first 100 days. 

Since assuming office on Wednesday, the President has also laid the groundwork for priorities such as COVID-19 relief and aid, immigration reform and climate change.

Here are the details of the executive actions that could potentially impact City College students most.

COVID-19 relief and aid

At the top of the new administration’s list is turning the ship around on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Biden’s “100 Day Mask Challenge” was put into effect on day one. This mandate states that social distancing and masks are to be worn on federal properties at all times. 

Masks are also required to be worn while traveling on all airplanes, trains and local transit. 

The President is also using war-time measures to ramp up the speed of the COVID-19 vaccinations across America. His plan is to have 100 million Americans vaccinated within his first 100 days.

Biden has also proposed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan, with $25 million going directly to the vaccination efforts and $1 trillion toward stimulus checks. This would amount to a $1,400 stimulus check available to most people living in the US. 

Immigration order

With another executive order, the President has supported the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This program protects the deportation of immigrants brought to America as children.

The order also calls on Congress to start legislation that will create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The ban on counting non-U.S. citizens in the census count, a piece of legislation once put forward by Donald Trump, has also been revoked by Biden.

Housing plans 

The Biden administration has also extended a federal moratorium on evictions and asked that other groups prolong the foreclosure on other federally guaranteed mortgages. 

This will be extended through the end of March. 

Climate action

One of the major issues supporters asked Biden to support during his presidency was climate change. 

In his first set of executive orders, the President canceled the permits for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, an action that many of his supporters asked him to do.

Along with the pipeline, Biden rejoined the U.S. into the Paris Climate Accord, the largest international effort targeting global warming.

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