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‘Democracy has prevailed’, Biden lays out vision to heal US

Thursday, 21 January 2021 | PTI |Washington

To sign Paris Climate, reverse Muslim ban, among 15 executive orders on top agenda

Democracy has prevailed,” newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday in his maiden speech as he called on Americans “to defend the truth and defeat the lies”.

Speaking shortly after taking oath as the 46th President of the United States, 78-year-old Biden also pledged to repair America’s global alliances, which suffered during his predecessor Donald Trump’s four-year regime.

“This is America’s day… Democracy has prevailed,” Biden said, apparently referring to Trump’s efforts to deny him victory in the November 3 election won by him.

“With unity we can do great things,” he said referring to the challenges ahead of him from fighting the coronavirus to addressing racial injustice.

“Unity is the path forward,” he asserted, laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation.

Hours after being sworn in as the 46th US president, Biden would sign 15 executive orders — including rejoining the Paris climate agreement, a 100-day mask mandate and reversing the Muslim ban — undoing some of the major policies of his predecessor Donald Trump.

Biden’s first presidential actions would also include sending a comprehensive bill on immigration to the Congress, incoming White House officials said. The immigration bill proposes a eight-year pathway to illegal immigrants and removing the per country cap for employment-based green cards, a move that would benefit hundreds and thousands of Indian IT professionals in the US, whose current wait period for legal permanent residency runs into several decades.

Biden asserted that he will be the president for all Americans, all those who voted for him and those who did not vote for him.

In his speech that lasted for 21 minutes, Biden praised Americans for rising to the challenge and reclaiming democracy. He mentioned the attempt to undo it at that exact location two weeks ago, and renewed his campaign goals of overcoming the pandemic, bringing racial justice and fighting climate change.

Biden also criticised those who have stoked anger and division, and asked those who opposed him to “hear me out.”

He called out those who lie for political power and profit. “There is truth, and there are lies,” he added.

In a message to the international community, Biden said that he would rebuild the alliances frayed over the past four years. “We can make America once again the leading force of good in the world.”

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