Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Day One: Biden moves to combat racial inequity with executive action

Photo of Black Lives Matter signs and art posted on a fence surrounding the White House; Washington Monument towers in the back
A wall of Black Lives Matter art sits in front of preparations for Joe Biden's inauguration near the White House. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

President-elect Biden will on Wednesday launch a "whole-of-government" initiative aimed at advancing racial equity in federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism from programs and institutions.

Why it matters: Biden’s win relied heavily on voters of color — especially Black Americans.

The big picture: A description of the executive action defines equity as "the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities."

  • "Analysis suggests that closing racial gaps in wages, housing credit, lending opportunities, and access to higher education would amount to an additional $5 trillion in gross domestic product in the American economy over the next 5 years, and create millions of new jobs."
  • "We are a nation founded on principles of equality and it is in the interest of everyone across the country that the government be intentional in ensuring that its policies reach all of us in an equitable way."

Biden's initiative will:

  • Direct every federal agency to conduct a baseline internal review of the agency’s "state of equity."
  • Launch a new equitable data working group to ensure federal data accurately reflects the nation.
  • Task the Office of Management and Budget with allocating federal resources to communities of color.
  • Improve engagement with and delivery of government services to underserved communities.

Susan Rice will head a “robust interagency process to hold the federal government accountable for advancing equity for families across America."

  • The executive action also rescinds the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, which “sought to erase America’s history of racial injustice,” as well as Trump’s order preventing federal agencies and contractors from holding diversity and inclusion trainings.

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