Biden orders the DOJ to finish non-public jail contracts underneath racial justice

President Joe Biden signs an executive order for transgender people for military service in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, USA on January 25, 2021 when he meets with new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden will order his Justice Department on Tuesday not to renew his private prison contracts, one of several new planks on Biden’s broader agenda for racial justice.

Biden is ready to sign four more executive measures after submitting his press schedule to the White House at 2:00 p.m. CET according to his press schedule. Vice President Kamala Harris will also attend the event.

Actions are aimed at tackling discriminatory housing practices, reforming the prison system, respecting the sovereignty of tribal governments, and combating xenophobia against Asian Americans, especially in the face of the Covid pandemic.

“For too many American families, systemic racism and inequality in our economies, laws, and institutions have still pushed the American dream way out of reach,” Rice said at a news conference.

The actions are just the latest in a comprehensive flex of the presidential powers in the first week. According to a preview from senior administrators, Biden will sign on Tuesday afternoon:

  • An executive order directing Biden’s attorney general not to renew DOJ contracts with privately operated penal institutions
  • A presidential memorandum directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate the impact of the Trump administration’s regulatory actions that “undermine fair housing policies and laws.” Based on this analysis, the memo also instructs the HUD to take steps to fully implement the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
  • An executive order urging federal agencies to deal with tribal governments regularly and meaningfully
  • And an executive memorandum directing the Department of Health and Human Services and the Covid Health Equity Task Force to publish best practices in their Covid response efforts to promote “cultural literacy” and sensitivity towards Asian Americans and islanders in the Pacific to consider. The memo also instructs the DOJ to work with these communities to prevent hate crimes and harassment against them.

“For too many American families, systemic racism and inequality in our economies, laws, and institutions have still put the American dream way out of reach,” domestic affairs adviser Susan Rice said at a press conference prior to Biden’s speech and signing.

“These are desperate times for so many Americans, and all Americans urgently need federal action to help us overcome this moment,” said Rice.

“Building a fairer economy is essential if Americans are to compete and thrive in the 21st century.”

Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 26, 2021.

Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Biden put questions of racial justice at the center of his winning campaign against former President Donald Trump. Shortly after he took office, Biden signed an executive order setting his government’s focus on social justice and repealing some of his predecessor’s policies.

In particular, the January 20 action overturned Trump’s September order to restrict federal entrepreneurs’ ability to deliver training on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Biden also ended the Trump administration’s “1776 Commission” which, in the final days of Trump’s tenure, produced a report that was extremely critical of progressive ideologies.

Biden’s command charged the Rice-headed Home Affairs Council with coordinating “efforts to embed principles, strategies, and approaches of justice throughout the federal government.”

“This includes efforts to remove and provide equal access to systemic barriers to opportunity and benefit, identify communities that have been underserved by the federal government, and develop strategies to advance equity for those communities,” it said in this regulation.

Biden is expected to return to the state dining room at 4:45 p.m. to speak about his government’s efforts to contain the Covid pandemic.

– CNBC’s Christian Nunley contributed to this report.

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