Joe Biden's hefty to-do list starts with a flurry of orders

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DARLENE SUPERVILLE and WILL WEISSERT
·4 min read
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden has given himself an imposing to-do list for his earliest days as president and many promises to keep over the longer haul.

Overshadowing everything at the very start is Biden's effort to win congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus and the economic misery it has caused.

But climate change, immigration, health care and more will be competing for attention — and dollars. Altogether Biden has laid out an ambitious if not always detailed set of plans and promises across the range of public policy.

Drawn from a review of his campaign statements and a recent memo from Ron Klain, who'll be his chief of staff, here's a sampling of measures to expect right away, around the corner and beyond:

WEDNESDAY, after the inauguration, mostly by executive action:

— Declaration that the U.S. is rejoining Paris climate accord.

— Declaration that the U.S. is rejoining World Health Organization.

— Ethical standards for his administration and an order prohibiting interference in the operations of the Justice Department from other parts of government.

— Start of a process to restore 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration created and President Donald Trump eliminated or weakened.

— Start of a process to rejoin the deal restraining Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

— Executive action to end travel restrictions on people from a variety of Muslim-majority countries.

— Executive action to protect from deportation people who came to the country illegally as children.

— Executive action to make masks mandatory on federal property and when travelling out of state. Others will be asked to wear masks for 100 days.

— Steps to extend pandemic-era restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.

— Legislation to go to Congress proposing to repeal liability protections for gun manufacturers and tightening some other aspects of gun control.

— Immigration legislation to go to Congress as part of an effort to offer a path to citizenship for 11 million people in the U.S. illegally and to codify protections for people who came illegally as children.

— Education Department to be asked to extend the existing pause on student loan payments and interest for millions with student debt.

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THURSDAY

— Executive action laying out new steps to expand virus testing, protect workers and set new public health standards.

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FRIDAY

— Directive to agencies to take unspecified immediate action to deliver economic relief from the pandemic.

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BY FEB. 1

— Executive actions to strengthen “buy American” provisions.

— Executive actions to address climate change.

— First steps to expand access to health care, for low-income women, women of color and other segments of the population.

— First steps to reunite families still separated at the Mexican border.

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BEYOND (some may be tried sooner)

— Ensure 100 million vaccines have been given before the end of his first 100 days.

— Ensure 100 federally supported vaccination centers are up and running in his first month.

— Expand use of the Defense Production Act to direct the manufacture of critical pandemic supplies.

— Win passage of a $2 trillion climate package to get the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

— Seek passage of a “Medicare-like public option” to compete alongside private insurance markets for working-age Americans; increase existing premium subsidies.

— Eliminate certain corporate tax cuts where possible, by executive action, while doubling the levies U.S. firms pay on foreign profits.

— Make a plan within 100 days to end homelessness.

— Expand legal immigration slots.

— Freeze deportations for 100 days, then restore the Obama-era principle of deporting foreigners who are seen as posing a national security threat or who have committed crimes in addition to the crime of illegal entry, thereby pulling back the broad deportation policy of the Trump years.

— Halt financing of further construction of the wall along the Mexican border.

— Within 100 days, establish a police oversight commission to combat institutional racism by then.

— Reinstate federal guidance, issued by Obama and revoked by Trump, to protect transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.

— Ensure taxes are not raised on anyone making under $400,000.

— Restore Obama-era rules on campus sexual misconduct and a policy that aimed to cut federal money to for-profit colleges that left students with heavy debt they can't pay back.

— Support legislation to make two years of community college free and to make public colleges free for families with incomes below $125,000, with no repayment of student loans required for people who make less than $25,000 a year and, for others, no repayment rate above 5% of discretionary income.

— Support increasing the national minimum wage to $15.

— Try to win passage of a plan to spend $700 billion boosting manufacturing and research and development.

— Establish a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court.