Under the Biden administration’s first 100 days, historic stimulus has gone to Americans, Trump policy has been reversed, and a staggering number of citizens have been vaccinated. However, the Biden administration has scrapped plans to raise the minimum wage, send $2,000 checks, and expand health care coverage.
On March 11, Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan. This bill is a $1.9 trillion stimulus package covering direct payments, unemployment benefits, small businesses, vaccination efforts, education and so much more.
A major provision in the bill is the $1,400 in direct payments for each filing member of families earning up to $150,000 with an additional $1,400 for each of their dependents.
The bill also expands the child tax credit and extends unemployment benefits, giving support to American families who desperately need it.
In terms of education, the bill includes $170 billion for state and local programs, providing funding for reopening schools in a safe and controlled way. Also, it provides funds for more PPP loans to keep workers employed and gives $25 billion to the Small Business Administration. This will help small businesses, restaurants, and bars survive after being hit hard during the pandemic.
Importantly, the package allots about $160 billion to a national vaccination program to administer the COVID-19 vaccines in an equitable and speedy way to return to normalcy as soon as possible.
Despite a historic amount of direct support to Americans, the bill passed with 0 votes from Republicans in the House or Senate.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was offered $10.2 billion for his state from the ARP, yet Republicans in the Florida Legislature only earmarked about 60% of that to go to Floridians.
Despite having no support from Congressional Republicans and receiving criticism from right-wing politicians nationwide, the American Rescue Plan has bipartisan support among the American public. A Morning Consult poll found that 75% of voters support the legislation along with 59% of Republicans.
This package is the biggest legislative accomplishment of Biden’s first 100 days, but the successes do not end there. Biden was elected on a promise to keep the coronavirus under control after Trump spread lies about mask use, chemical injections, and the deadliness of the virus.
Biden promised 100 million shots in arms in his first 100 days. Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw went on Fox News to say that if Biden wanted to impress us he should hit “200 million vaccines in a hundred days.”
Well, after 100 days over 230 million vaccines have been administered to Americans, with COVID-19 cases falling over 70% since the end of the Trump administration.
As if his first 100 days were not busy enough, Biden employed executive action to halt the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the border wall, required masks on federal property, and continued a moratorium on evictions.
On top of that, he has reversed Trump policy by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization.
The first 100 days have not been perfect, however. Biden promised $2,000 checks “immediately” to the American people if Georgia voted in Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. They did, but the package only included $1,400 checks. Democrats backtracked and said that the $1,400 checks in combination with the previous $600 make $2,000, but those were months apart.
Also, the $15 minimum wage that would have given 27 million struggling Americans a raise was struck down by the ‘Parliamentarian,’ an unelected bureaucrat no one has heard of. This decision was easily reversible by Vice President Harris, but the Biden administration lacked the will to push this provision through.
Lastly, the American health care system is still massively broken. Biden’s 100 days did not include provisions to expand Medicare or provide a public option to struggling Americans, despite the pandemic showing the dangers of tying health care to employment.
I am optimistic about the future of the Biden administration. The proposed American Jobs Plan would invest in key physical infrastructure like roads and bridges, provide funding for clean water and broadband internet, and increase our competitiveness abroad.
If the Biden administration continues to prioritize direct relief to struggling American families and businesses, he will be a successful president. However, the new administration must be willing to stand up to those in the way of progress, even in their own party, to end this pandemic and make fundamental change for the betterment of the average American.
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Featured Image: Joe Biden giving a speech. Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license, https://bit.ly/2RdNgL0.