United States President, Joe Biden swung into action hours after he was inaugurated as the 46th President, reversing some policies of the immediate past President, Donald Trump and inking series of executive orders.
It was, however, observed that Biden kept changing pens while signing the orders on Thursday. While some might have assumed that the pens were not writing properly, it is necessary to establish the real reason for the practice.
What you should know:
Biden’s act of changing pens while signing the orders did not just start in the history of America. The practice which has become a ritual can be traced back to 1930s during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry S. Truman in the 1940s.
Also, Lyndon Johnson, the U.S 36th President, had signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 with 75 pens.
A not-too-long related development, was in 2010 when Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) into law using 22 pens and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ( his first bill to sign into law) in 2009 with seven pens.
Although the White House staff secretary at that time, Lisa Brown said she wasn’t sure exactly when the tradition started, she noted that John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had used multiple pens to sign legislation during their terms.
Why many pens are used:
The practice which has become a tradition in the United States, intend to compensate individuals that contributed to the success of the signing ceremony.
The pens used during the signing ceremony are gifted to such individuals to acknowledge their efforts.
“The practice is that the president uses a number of pens and then gives the pens to people who worked particularly hard on a bill, who sponsored the bill, who really fought to get it done, or to whom the bill means a great deal,” Brown explained.
There is currently no limit in the pens that can be used during the signing ceremonies.