1/ Biden marked the start of his presidency by signing or finalizing 17 executive orders, memorandums, and proclamations to roll back some of Trump’s policies. Hours after his inauguration, Biden began signing orders on a range of issues, which included defunding the construction of Trump’s border wall, reversing Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries, ending the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the Census, recommitting to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and rejoining the Paris climate agreement. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office as he began signing. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.” Biden also signed an order appointing Jeffrey Zients as his Covid-19 response coordinator who will report to the president, in an effort to “aggressively” gear up the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. One of Biden’s top advisers described the flurry of executive authority as an effort to “reverse the gravest damages” done to the country by Trump. (New York Times / NPR / CBS News / CNN / Washington Post / The Guardian / Politico / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

  • Biden signed an executive order requiring all political appointees to sign an ethics pledge, including a ban on lobbying for two years after they leave the administration. (The Hill)

  • Biden will reverse a Trump administration policy prohibiting funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions. (NPR)

  • Biden revoked a Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools. Biden disbanded Trump’s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew the report that it released Monday. (Associated Press)

2/ Biden, pledging a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus, signed at least 10 executive orders and directives on his second day in office aimed at addressing the pandemic. Biden’s national strategy will address testing, treating, and vaccinating people for Covid-19 by ordering federal agencies to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost the manufacture of necessary supplies of masks, gowns, gloves, rapid test kits, testing agents and material for vaccines. Biden will also require travelers to wear masks on planes, trains, buses, and at airports, as well as require a negative Covid-19 test before flying to the U.S. Other orders and directives will create a public dashboard with real-time national and state-level data on cases, testing, vaccinations, and hospitalizations, deploy FEMA to set up 100 community vaccination sites in the next 30 days, and create a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to “address the disproportionate and severe impact of Covid-19 on communities of color and other underserved populations.” (New York Times / NPR / Politico / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

3/ Biden reversed Trump’s move to leave the World Health Organization – exactly one year after the United States recorded its first Covid-19 case. “I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told U.N.’s health agency. Dr. Fauci said the U.S. would re-engage at all levels and would join Covax, a program to distribute vaccines to poorer nations. The agency’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, thanks Biden and Dr. Fauci for recommitting to the Covid-19 fight, saying: “This is a good day for the WHO and a good day for global health.” (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Biden administration identified 12 “immediate supply shortfalls” in the Trump administration’s pandemic response plans, including a nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. Biden called the vaccine rollout “a dismal failure thus far,” adding “we didn’t get into this mess overnight,” and that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.” The shortfalls identified by the Biden team include a lack of N95 surgical masks and isolation gowns, swabs, reagents and pipettes used in testing. “What we’re inheriting from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined,” Jeff Zients, the Biden administration’s Covid-19 czar, said in a call. “We don’t have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations.” Meanwhile, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the CDC, warned that the Covid-19 vaccine would not be widely available by late February, as the Trump administration previously promised. The CDC also expects the U.S. to see another 100,000 or more Covid-19 deaths by next month, bringing the death toll to 508,000 by February 13. Dr. Anthony Fauci added that his “best-case scenario” is getting 85% of Americans vaccinated by the end of summer. (New York Times / CNN / Daily Beast / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post)

5/ Around 900,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. While down slightly from last week, jobless claims remain above the pre-pandemic peak of 695,000. (Politico / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Senate Republicans refused to agree to a power-sharing agreement unless Democrats promised to preserve the filibuster. Mitch McConnell has pressed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to keep the 60-vote threshold on most legislation as part of their agreement. Democrats, however, have rejected the proposal, saying it would be a mistake to take the filibuster off the table now that they’re in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House for the first time in more than a decade. The stalemate is slowing down confirmation of Biden’s nominees, Trump’s impeachment trial, and more. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

✏️ Notables.

  1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “ready” to transmit the House’s impeachment charge against Trump to the Senate “soon,” declining to provide an exact date for doing so. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, proposed delaying the impeachment trial until February to give Trump’s lawyers more time to prepare. The question of who will represent Trump also remains unanswered. (New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post / CNN)

  2. The Biden administration is seeking a five-year extension to its nuclear arms treaty with Russia, which expires Feb. 5. Letting the treaty expire would allow both countries to deploy an unlimited number of nuclear-armed submarines, bombers, and missiles. (Washington Post)

  3. The Senate confirmed Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence. Haines is the first woman to become director of national intelligence, where she’ll oversees 18 intelligence agencies and units, including the CIA and the National Security Agency. (Wall Street Journal / Politico / Axios)

  4. Biden will keep FBI Director Christopher Wray in his role. Wray was appointed in 2017 after Trump fired James Comey. (CNN / Politico / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

  5. Trump’s Pentagon blocked members of Biden’s incoming administration from accessing information about current operations, including the troop drawdowns, upcoming operations in Africa, and the Covid-19 vaccine distribution program. (Politico)

  6. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a waiver for Lloyd Austin’s nomination for defense secretary. The full Senate is expected to confirm Austin, who would be the first Black defense secretary. Austin required a waiver because the law requires that he be out of uniform for seven years before becoming Pentagon chief. Austin retired in 2016. (Politico)

  7. Trump appointee Michael Pack resigned as the CEO of the federal agency over the Voice of America. On Pack’s first day as head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, he sidelined or fired senior leaders at the agency and the chiefs of all the government-sponsored foreign broadcast networks. Biden named senior VOA news executive Kelu Chao as acting CEO. (NPR)

  8. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger resigned at Biden’s request. (The Hill)

  9. The Biden administration fired the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, a Trump appointee who was seen as a foe by worker advocates and labor unions, after Peter Robb refused a request from the new administration to resign. (Bloomberg Law / Washington Post / New York Times)

  10. China imposed sanctions on 28 former Trump administration officials, including outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The statement from China’s foreign ministry was released just minutes after Biden took office, which the new administration called “unproductive and cynical.” (NPR / NBC News)

  11. Seven Senate Democrats filed an ethics complaint against Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz for their objections to the 2020 presidential election results. Democrats are requesting an investigation for their “objections to the electors after the violent attack” on Jan. 6. that “lent legitimacy to the mob’s cause and made future violence more likely.” (Politico)