By Riley Vance–
After less than one full week in office, the newly inaugurated President Joe Biden has made numerous changes, including 33 executive actions.
When asked about Biden’s swift actions during his short time in office, students and instructors on the University of Louisville’s campus had differing opinions.
U of L College Republicans Chairman Isaac Oettle voiced some concern about the policies Biden has enacted.
“I was encouraged by President Biden’s call for unity in his inaugural address at noon,” said Oettle recalling Biden’s inauguration. “Although the words began to ring hollow by 3 p.m. when he cancelled production of the Keystone XL pipeline and the media reported that he intends to send an immigration bill to Congress that would provide blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants without even an offer for increased border security in exchange. President Biden’s administration also placed a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling, breaking his campaign pledge to not ban fracking.”
Among Biden’s executive actions are those that relate to the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased manufacturing and quicker delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations, tests, and Personal Protective Equipment as well as a mask mandate on federal property.
Biden has also made strides to mend environmental issues by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Although the economy is typically not the main priority of many Democrats, after only a few days in office Biden has posted on Instagram claiming to extend a moratorium on evictions and student loan relief.
U of L Young Democrats Treasurer Julia Mattingly supports Biden, but she also expresses her concern about his use of executive orders.
“As much as I support the vast majority of President Biden’s executive orders, such as re-committing the U.S. to the World Health Organization, rejoining the Paris climate accord, and reversing the Muslim travel ban, I also believe it is wrong for him to legislate simply by pen and paper,” said Mattingly.
“If he plans to hold true to the promises he made on the campaign trail and genuinely unite this country, he must work with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to ensure his legislative priorities. It is important that we as Democrats hold President Biden accountable in the same way we did the former President Trump, and discourage President Biden from being overly reliant on executive action.”
Biden has also made it clear that he cares about fixing racial and gender inequalities in America.
Since he has taken office, Biden has repealed the transgender military ban allowing transgender men and women to serve in the U.S. military. He has also reversed former President Trump’s policy that did not allow transgender athletes to participate in sports as their identified gender. Biden appointed Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health—the first openly transgender federal official.
Additionally, he has launched a federal initiative to advance racial equity nationwide by reallocating resources.
U of L Political Communications professor Bill Brantley thinks Biden’s transition will come with many obstacles.
“President Biden needs to reframe the policy debates with the new unity perspective,” said Brantley.
“President Trump framed his policies in an “us versus them” perspective because he didn’t see the need to reach out to the Congressional Democrats. Establishing a new framing perspective is always difficult against an entrenched narrative frame.”
There is no denying that President Biden is ready to start taking action on promises he made during his campaign, however, it seems that most believe his largest obstacle is uniting the country after a messy election.
File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal