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Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 16:22 GMT
Bush stamps his authority
George W and Laura Bush at inauguration
Fanfares today, but business starts after the weekend
The new President of the United States, George W Bush, has moved to block a series of measures approved at the last minute by his predecessor, Bill Clinton.

Mr Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, said the action was designed to ensure that the new administration was able to review the changes, which mainly affect health and the environment.

George W and Laura Bush
George and Laura relax on Saturday night
After a night of celebrations in Washington, Mr Bush has declared Sunday a day of prayer and thanksgiving and urged all US citizens to focus on what unites them.

On Tuesday, he will send his education reform package to Congress, in the hope that Republicans and Democrats will work together on the issue.

Appointee approval

Mr Bush took action against Mr Clinton's final executive orders almost immediately after being sworn in on Saturday.

Confirmed cabinet members
Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Paul O'Neill, Treasury
Donald Rumsfeld, Defence
Rod Paige, Education
Spencer Abraham, Energy
Donald Evans, Commerce
Ann Veneman, Agriculture
"Send no proposed or final regulation to the Office of the Federal Register unless and until a department or agency head appointed by the President after noon on 20 January 2001, reviews and approves the regulatory action," a memorandum issued by Mr Card said.

It is not clear how many of the measures, dealing with health insurance for the elderly, Medicare and various environmental policies, Mr Bush will be able to reverse.

Mr Bush also said no further staff should be hired within the federal government unless approved by one of his appointees.

Correspondents say this is intended to stop former Clinton appointees taking up posts in various parts of the civil and diplomatic services.

Split congress

Mr Bush's desire to overcome divisions within the evenly split congress could be put to its first test when his proposals for education reform reach congress on Tuesday.

White House decorators
White House decorators prepare for Bush's arrival
Some Democrats have already voiced their opposition to the plan, under which publicly funded schools which fail to meet standards within three years would be denied part of their federal money.

Mr Bush used his 15-minute inauguration address on Saturday to appeal to those who have not accepted his presidency.

He called on Americans to be "citizens not spectators" and to become more involved in the service of their communities and nation.

Anti-Bush protestors
Not everyone was happy to see Bush inaugurated
"I will live and lead by these principles: To advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well," Mr Bush declared.

After Saturday's inauguration, Mr Bush and First Lady Laura Bush attended all eight official inaugural balls.

As Bill Clinton prepared to fly to his house in New York State he gave a final farewell to his supporters.

"You gave me the ride of my life and I tried to give as good as I got," he told a crowd at the airport.

The BBC's Stephen Sackur, in Washington
"The next few weeks promise to be a test for President Bush"
US President George W Bush's
inauguration speech


Bush presidency:


Texts and transcripts:


See also:

21 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Trimble welcomes Bush Presidency
19 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton escapes Lewinsky charges
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Doubts remain about Florida vote
20 Jan 01 | UK Politics
'No change' in US-UK relations
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