By Andrea Valdez
Broadcast News Director
Graphic by Victoria Deal
On Jan. 20, Joseph R. Biden along with Kamala Devi Harris took office as president and vice president of the U.S. The inauguration was to swear in both the president and vice president with Kamala Harris being the first woman of color to be sworn in as vice president. Biden chose Harris as his running mate in August 2020. Both ran under the Democratic nominee ticket with Biden winning the nomination.
On Biden’s first day in office, he began signing executive orders. While campaigning for the presidency, one of Biden’s main tasks was to undo the previous administration’s policies, starting with his COVID-19 plan. It has been over a year and the country continues to face the pandemic that hit the U.S. economy and keeps the COVID-19 cases rising. Biden’s solution is to provide a response to combat COVID-19 with the help of global health officials. He created positions in his task force to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but those taking on the positions have yet to be announced as of Jan. 20, according to the White House website.
As of Jan. 26, there have been more than 25 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. Biden expects Americans to be vaccinated “as quickly as possible” to combat the virus.
“I’d like to update you on the aggressive steps we’re taking to meet our goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots within a hundred days,” Biden said in a speech posted on the White House website. By summer 2021, an additional 200 million vaccines will be purchased and delivered by the administration.
According to the White House, student loan payments and collections will be paused as of Jan. 20 and the interest rate will be kept at 0% as part of his economic COVID-19 relief plan.
In addition to his COVID-19 plan, Biden issued a proclamation to terminate the construction of the wall along the southern national border, one of Trump’s ongoing projects during his presidency. The funding that was designated toward the building of the wall will be paused. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs is in the process of developing a plan to redirect it.
Along with the halt on the border wall construction, the Keystone XL pipeline construction was also terminated. The Keystone XL pipeline would have run through Alberta, Canada, to Houston, Texas, and most of the pipeline had already been built. Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met to discuss the strategic importance of the U.S.-Canada relationship. In a statement released on Jan. 22 by the White House, “The President and the Prime Minister discussed their shared vision to promote a sustainable economic recovery and to work together to achieve a net-zero emissions future.” Both Biden and Trudeau will meet in a month to discuss future collaboration.