President’s Day: America’s Future under Biden

Sofia Rest, Staff Writer

This year, President’s Day, a federal holiday celebrated in honor of George Washington, will be celebrated on February 15. As the nation enters a new presidential term under Joe Biden, it’s important to educate ourselves on his implemented policies and goals for the future. The following section describes Biden’s stances on five different relevant issues.

1. Responding to the coronavirus epidemic: Biden has taken measures to implement mask mandates on federal property, rejoin the WHO (World Health Organization), and create a new federal office to aid Americans whose incomes have been hit hard by the pandemic. He has said he plans to provide funding for increased contact tracing and testing.

2. Protecting the environment: Biden has signed an executive order that will rejoin the U.S. with the Paris agreement, a treaty which legally requires countries to make economic changes that benefit the planet and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He has stated that he will not ban fracking, an oil-extraction process that helps to stabilize gas prices yet has raised concerns over water waste and the escape of potential carcinogens into the area around the drilling. He has made it a goal to stop new permits for fossil fuel extraction on public land and water and has revoked federal permission to continue work on the Keystone XL Pipeline, an oil pipeline that would increase oil transportation between the U.S. and Canada but has been opposed by local communities and environmentally conscious organizations on the basis of oil spillage and contamination.

3. Immigration: Biden has reversed Trump’s redirection of Department of Defense funding toward the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, instead looking to reinforce screening procedures. On January 20, Biden reinstated DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program that helps children illegally living in the U.S. to “defer removal action for a certain period of time” (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)).

4. Abortion: Biden supports public funding for safe and legal abortions as well as the restrictions on late-term abortions set in famous Supreme Court cases like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which protected women’s rights to privacy and abortion according to the development stage of the fetus. The following quote from Oyez‘s webpage on the case describes the legal restrictions on abortion: “In the first trimester of pregnancy, the state may not regulate the abortion decision; only the pregnant woman and her attending physician can make that decision. In the second trimester, the state may impose regulations on abortion that are reasonably related to maternal health. In the third trimester, once the fetus reaches the point of ‘viability,’ a state may regulate abortions or prohibit them entirely, so long as the laws contain exceptions for cases when abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother” (Roe v. Wade).

5. Criminal justice and police violence: Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, instead promoting an increase in funding that will reform current police departments and keep officers accountable. He aims to eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentences, the death penalty, and the privatization of prisons.

As we begin 2021 and a new presidential term, regardless of your political affiliation, staying up-to-date and aware of contemporary issues is part of becoming active in your local, statewide, and national community. Feel free to check out some of the linked articles in the Works Cited section below to further educate yourself on these issues!

Works Cited

“Biden sets to work on reversing Trump policies with executive orders.” BBC, 2021. BBC News, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

“Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” US Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2021, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

“Keystone XL pipeline: Why is it so disputed?” BBC, 2021. BBC News, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Miller, Zeke. “On Day One, Biden targets Trump policies on climate, virus.” The Associated Press, 2021. AP, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

“Roe v. Wade.” Oyez, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021. “Roe v. Wade.” Oyez, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Uhrmacher, Kevin. “Where Trump and Biden stand on the issues.” Washington Post, 2021. Washington Post, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

“What is fracking and why is it controversial?” BBC, 2021. BBC News, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.