Over the past four years, the Trump administration has rolled back important regulations and issued a multitude of harmful executive orders. These actions have exacerbated suffering for those already struggling, imposed fear and hardship on immigrant families, emboldened white supremacy, undermined diplomacy, driven us further from peace, endangered the environment, and hampered our ability to respond effectively to the climate crisis.
President Joe Biden can take immediate action in his first days in office.
Given that these actions have only compounded the challenges of a global pandemic, a deep economic recession, and ongoing systemic racism, elected leaders must respond swiftly and boldly. While Congress considers legislation, President Joe Biden can take immediate action in his first days in office.
Here are FCNL’s top recommendations for the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration:
Alleviate hardship for millions of struggling families:
- Rescind the public charge rules and replace them with them with Interim Final Rules based on the 1999 field guidance that had been in place for 20 years. The public charge rules deny Green Cards to immigrants who access public benefits they’re legally entitled to.
- Roll back rules making it harder for people to access food assistance, including limitations on categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), modifications to the standard utility allowance for calculating SNAP benefits, and harsher SNAP time limits for adults struggling to find work.
- Cancel proposed housing rules that undermined fair housing protections. Undo recent regulatory changes to Disparate Impact Rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), and Equal Access Rule.
- Additionally, enact an executive order to raise the wage of government contract workers to $15 an hour to match rising inflation and cost of living and setsetting an example for states and private business.
Repeal harmful immigration policies:
- Restore protections for immigrant youth (the DACA program) and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
- Rescind the Muslim-majority and African countries travel ban.
- Reverse the Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Migrant Protection Program (MPP or “Remain in Mexico” policy), allowing refugees and asylees to stay in the United States until their cases are heard.
- Reinstate protections for asylum seekers, including those who are fleeing gender-based violence, gang violence, and other threats against those who are looking for safety, asylum, and refuge.
Restore environmental protections:
- Rescind the Trump administration’s EPA guidance on regulating air toxins.
- Reverse the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Review Waiver. Trump’s executive order instructed agencies to waive long-standing environmental laws to speed up federal approval for new mines, highways, pipelines, and other projects.
- Reverse EPA changes to Clean Air Act.
- Reverse the Mercury Emissions Rollback.
- Reverse the rollback of fuel emissions standards.
- Strengthen EPA regulations on mercury/toxic metals from oil and coal-fired power plants.
Reduce gun violence:
- Instruct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to broaden its interpretation of the term “firearm” to include unfinished frames and receivers which are designed and marketed to be converted into firearms (aka ghost guns).
- Limit the private sales exception to those who sell five 5 or fewer firearms a year to unlicensed individuals for profit.
Reduce domestic state sanctioned violence:
- Place a moratorium on the death penalty, which is disproportionately levied against people of color.
- Place a moratorium on the 1033 program, which transfers military grade weapons to local police departments.
Address systemic racism:
- End the prohibition on diversity/racism training.
- Establish a White House Racial Equity Office.
- Reestablish meaningful consultation with Tribal Nations by immediately reinstating the Executive Departments and Agencies Consultation mandate that was in place during the Obama-Biden Administration and ensuring that consultation policies are consistent across federal agencies.
- Deprioritize charging offenses that are not truly priority for public safety by reestablishing the Department of Justice Holder memo. The criminal justice system comes down with disproportionate weight and severity against communities of color.
Restore U.S. partnership with the global community:
- Extend the New START Treaty for five years without conditions. The last remaining nuclear arms limitation agreement between Russia and the United States is set to expire on Feb. 5, 2021.
- Renew international consensus on Iran by returning to the JCPOA on a compliance for compliance basis, clarifying that UN sanctions on Iran aren’t “snapped back,” and supporting a $5 billion dollar IMF loan to Iran to address COVID-19.
- Re-enter the Paris Climate Accord. The United States is the only country to reject this agreement, under which we had agreed to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 to 26 percent or less of our 2005 levels.
The United States is the only country to reject the Paris agreement.
- Rejoin multilateral institutions, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Human Rights Council, and request full funding for U.S. contributions to international organizations.
- Reverse Executive Order 13928 (Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court), which undermines the fundamental norms and the effective functioning of the Court.
- Issue an Executive Order halting the production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of anti-personnel landmines and sign the Mine Ban Treaty.
Respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic and urgent humanitarian crises:
- Request at least $20 billion for international COVID relief and support the release of Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund to enable countries to address the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Restore and expand humanitarian aid to all parts of Yemen, pressure Saudi Arabia and the UAE to meet and expand funding pledges for Yemen, and reverse the designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
- Restore funding to UNRWA, and end Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.
- Issue a worldwide Temporary General License allowing all COVID-19 related humanitarian trade to all U.S.- sanctioned countries and locations — including testing kits, respiratory devices, personal protective equipment, and vaccines — for the duration of the pandemic.
- Lift broad-based economic sanctions imposed by the United States on all countries and locations for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Promote international peacebuilding:
- Release a declassified list of “countries and regions at risk of atrocities, including a description of specific risk factors, at-risk groups, and likely scenarios in which atrocities would occur;” as mandated in the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocity Prevention Act (P.L. 115-441).
- Prioritize women’s participation and rights in the Afghan peace talks, urge a comprehensive ceasefire, and encourage regional actors to play a constructive role in supporting peace in Afghanistan.
- Revise Executive Order 13224 Modernizing Sanctions to Combat Terrorism to exempt the provision of expert advice or assistance, training, and personnel in support of peacebuilding and DDR programs. Material support prohibitions under U.S. Code 2339B prevent peacebuilders from working with armed groups to find peaceful resolutions to violent conflict.
Reduce militarism abroad:
- Declare the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) expired and support its repeal. This authorization is not needed for any ongoing operations and should be repealed to prevent further abuse.
- Commit to obtaining congressional authorization for any new use of military force, and set an end date for operations conducted under the 2001 AUMF. Three presidents have stretched the 2001 AUMF to justify 41 operations in 19 countries against groups like ISIS that didn’t even exist on 9/11.
Commit to obtaining congressional authorization for any new use of military force.
- Produce the report on operations under the 2001 AUMF that is are required by Sec. 1285 of the FY20 NDAA. This report, due June 20, 2020, requires the administration to disclose all the countries U.S. troops are fighting in and to update Congress every six months on all actions taken under the 2001 AUMF.
- Sign a War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-UAE led coalition’s war in Yemen, including intelligence sharing, logistical support, and spare parts transfers for coalition airstrikes.
- Prohibit future weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and block delivery of the proposed $23 billion sale of F35s, drones, and munitions to the UAE.
- Prohibit the use of U.S. funds to carry out or recognize illegal annexation of the West Bank, and ensure that U.S. equipment is not used by Israel in West Bank home demolitions.
Rein in Pentagon spending:
- Reaffirm President Ronald Reagan’s statement that nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought as the basis for a Nuclear Posture Review, and freeze further funding for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program at least until such review is completed.
- Eliminate funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) from the FY2022 budget request as a first step to getting defense spending under control.