President Joe Biden has had a busy first 30 days in office, passing over 50 executive orders (EOs) and advocating for the passage of another Congressional COVID-19 relief package, which will likely occur at the beginning of March (stay tuned for details on the upcoming relief package). The overwhelming majority of the EOs are related to COVID-19 emergency relief and response, although the President has also signed EOs on immigration and foreign policy. Many of these EOs directly and indirectly relate to the work of Community Action Agencies and support Community Action clients:
- Healthcare - Creates an emergency Special Enrollment Period for the Healthcare Marketplace due to COVID from February 15 to May 15. As Minnesota runs its own marketplace, MNSure has a corresponding COVID- 19 Special Enrollment Period from February to May 17.
- COVID Housing Assistance - Extends the COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure moratorium through June 30, 2021. Gov. Walz’s Peacetime Emergency EO’s also include an eviction moratorium at the state level, many of the same protections for renters overlap those at the federal level.
- Food Assistance - Calls for the U.S Dept. of Agriculture to consider enhancing the Pandemic-EBT benefits by 15 percent, which provide food support for families of children who receive free or reduced-price lunch at school. The Biden Administration also called for USDA to allow states to increase their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits up by 15 to 20 percent per month.
- Racial Equity - Reaffirms Tribal sovereignty and calls for federal government agencies to consult with Tribes when developing policy. The President also called for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to recognize the roll it has played in housing discrimination and homeownership disparities and work to end housing discrimination.
More investment will be needed to ensure our communities, most marginalized and impacted from the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19, receive the emergency assistance they need and have equitable access to recovery. But, these EOs provide necessary steps to ensure our clients and agencies have access to the services they need.