President Biden’s First 100 Days

Peter Sloniewsky, Staff Writer

President Biden has been in office for more than 100 days and has taken action on several issues he addressed in his campaign.  Although Biden has only signed into law 11 bills so far (the lowest of any president in modern history), they hold significance.

The Biden administration has acknowledged that the COVID pandemic is the most pressing issue facing the nation. One of the most significant laws signed by President Biden is the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion piece of legislation which addressed important areas of the country negatively affected by the pandemic. The Rescue Plan extended unemployment benefits totaling $300 through September 6th, spent $34.2 billion on expansion of the Affordable Care Act and boosted the child tax credit to $3000 or greater from $2000. 

In addition, the Plan provided $130 billion to assist schools in returning to in-person teaching, expanding testing, modifying classrooms to comply with safety regulations, increasing transportation capacity and improving technology to help disadvantaged students, according to USA Today. The American Rescue Plan also provides assistance to small businesses, with money for paycheck protection, rental assistance and home energy and water costs totaling $80 billion.

Biden has also taken action on vaccination. One of the few bipartisan components of the American Rescue plan was the $160 billion pledged for vaccine development and distribution, which has paid off. According to the Washington Post, 53.8% of the eligible population 16 or older, and 43.3% of the total population, has received at least one shot; more than 200 million doses have been administered in Biden’s first 100 days in office alone.

While Trump’s Operation Warp Speed was responsible for the development of reliable vaccines, Biden was able to assemble and maintain a steady vaccination system. Biden has also taken drastic action in the form of ad campaigns to convince anti-vaxxers to take the vaccine and has agreed to send doses to other countries in need. While the Johnson & Johnson vaccination pause has cast doubt on the Biden administration’s capabilities, it is only a blip in the major successes that he has achieved regarding vaccination.

Besides his COVID-19 response, Biden has also focused on pushing his infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Act. The bill is ambitious and far-reaching, described by the administration itself as an “investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.” It addresses existing infrastructure with a focus on repairing highways, bridges, ports, airports and public transit; it also provides support for more modern ideas such as delivery of clean drinking water, a renewed electrical grid and high-speed broadband for all Americans. 

The bill also promises to create jobs in building, rehabilitating and retrofitting affordable housing and federal facilities. Biden has proposed a series of new taxes on the wealthy and on corporations to pay for the measures.  However, its points against climate change have met significant Republican opposition and the GOP has produced a counter-bill with a price tag of $568 billion but no alternative method of funding the bill.

Biden has also moved to reverse certain Trump-era policies on climate change, including restoring the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate Accords.  These accords, which Trump pulled the United States out of in 2017, set goals for restricting climate change across the world. Biden also hosted a summit on climate change, the Leaders Summit on Climate, in which he and forty other invited world leaders planned to reduce emissions between April 22 and 23, leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Finally, Biden set two targets for United States climate change in his first 100 days in office: a 2030 50-52% greenhouse gas pollution reduction target from 2005 levels, and a promise to tackle net zero economy-wide emissions no later than 2050.

The new administration has also worked to change foreign policy and defense. As an alternative to Trump’s signature “America First” policies, Biden has opted instead to reject conservative isolationism, with the intent to reengage with the world and to lead it as a nation once again. Biden has also promised withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, with the intent to end the “forever war.” Finally, Biden has imposed serious sanctions on Russia for a major hacking operation that they took part in and has countered the pro-China narrative that conservatives said about his administration through the promise to compete with more investments in the American economy.