The 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, has been in office for less than a week, and he has already made several key changes—including signing 15 executive orders on his first day in the White House. Here's a quick recap of changes that affect the construction industry:
- Freezing border construction—Biden signed an order to stop funding and construction of the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico boundary started by President Trump. Under the action, the projects are halted for 60 days for government review of contracts. The order also terminates the Trump's original order which diverted federal funds to build the wall.
- Strengthened workplace discrimination protections—The action broadens the protections involved in sex discrimination cases to LGBTQ+ citizens, as well as revoking Trump's executive order limiting the ability of federal agencies, contractors and other organizations to hold diversity and inclusion training. Additionally, all federal offices are ordered to conduct internal reviews of systemic discrimination racism.
- Ended the Keystone XL Pipeline project—The new president signed another order effectively ending the contentious pipeline construction by revoking several permits needed to continue building. The move also revoked permits for oil and gas construction on national wildlife monuments. Another executive order also moved to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
- Federal mask requirement on all federal property and for federal employees—While Biden runs the risk of legal challenges with a national mask mandate, he did sign an order requiring all federal employees to wear a mask at all times and anyone on federal property (public projects) to mask up.
- Defended the "Dreamers" program—Biden called on Congress to grant permanent status and also provide a clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.