From the start of his term, President Joe Biden ran on a campaign promising to be a president for all Americans. With his current approval ratings sitting at 40%, Biden still has a long way to go in unifying the country’s divisive culture. With one-fourth of his presidency completed, we took a look at where Biden has succeeded and failed specifically in the areas of foreign policy, COVID-19, climate change, the economy, immigration and equity and equality.
Back in April, Biden ordered the full removal of troops in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021 – following through with an agreement between the Taliban and former President Trump – in an effort to ensure his promise to end “forever wars.” On July 8, Biden expedited the full troop withdrawal date to Aug. 31, assuring citizens during a press conference, the Afghan government would not fall to Taliban forces. By Aug. 16, the Taliban had gained control over the entire nation, leading to chaos at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in the following weeks as hundreds of Americans and Afghan refugees attempted to flee. 13 U.S. service members and an Afghan family of nine were killed before American forces withdrew completely on Aug. 30.
On February 3rd, 2022, the US killed Isis leader, Abu Ibrahim ah-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in a counterterrorism raid. Qurayshi knew the US troops were coming to kill him so out of fear, blew himself up, killing many civilians in the selfish act. According to the Pentagon, there were no U.S casualties. Biden expressed that the U.S chose a special force operation to avoid the death of citizens, but Qurayshi killed many people in his suicide.
When Biden first entered office, COVID-19 vaccines were just becoming available. Though after the first few months with vaccines being made widely accessible, rates have stalled with around 63% of Americans fully vaccinated. After surges of the Delta and Omicron variants, the Biden administration is giving away $1 billion worth of free at-home, rapid COVID tests. The percentage of Americans who believe Biden is handling the pandemic well is decreasing as hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients, schools are struggling to stay open and nursing homes suffer staff shortages.
On day one of his presidency, Biden made an executive order to rejoin the U.S. with the Paris Agreement, which aims to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. He has also committed the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to 50-52% as compared to 2005 levels by 2030. Biden has many more climate policies outlined within his Build Back Better Act, which has failed to gain support in a sharply divided Congress.
The build back better plan: First, let’s discuss the framework and goals of Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. According to the official Whitehouse website, he planned to provide free pre-education for all children ages 3-4, offer tax cuts for parents of young children, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, invests more money in affordable housing and much more. However, the bill is over a trillion dollars to carry out, making a bipartisan vote extremely difficult causing the bill to be stuck in gridlock.
Job growth and COVID-19 recovery: As of December 6th, 2021, Biden has created six million jobs. Granted, he stepped into office while our country was suffering horrific economic impacts due to COVID-19. However, it is clear that Biden helped to pull us out of an economic recession. According to MSNBC, “In just 2021, the economy generated 6.4 million, nearly matching the combined total of the Republican’s first three years”.
Infrastructure: In November, Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure plan which designated more than $500 billion towards our transportation systems, utilities and broadband. For years, many efforts went unfinished in the White House in regards to bettering our country’s infrastructure. The intent of the bill is to upgrade America’s public transportation and roadways. The execution of the law will take years to complete, but it is a huge step in the right direction that his budget and goals for the plan have been signed and passed through congress.
Before Biden took office, he had many critiques and possible solutions for our border crisis and immigration system. After a year in office, the border still remains a catastrophe. This year more than ever, we’ve seen the largest increase of people crossing our border. Statistics show that it’s not just migrants from Mexico crossing our border and the majority of the people happen to be single adults. Nonetheless, during Trump’s administration, over 5,000 children have been ripped from their parents upon entering America. By the end of 2021, after partnering with the International Organization for Migration, Biden has helped over 100 children reunite with their families.
Equality & Equity:
In March of 2021, roughly a year into the pandemic, Biden passed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act (H.R 1843). During the rise of the pandemic, Asain Americans experienced a huge spike in hate crimes and racism toward them. The bill was proposed as a goal to stop harassment towards Asian Americans. The bill had many in depth provisions, including grants for states to create state-run hate crimes reporting hotlines.
Early into his presidency, Biden passed an executive order enforcing federal law against gender discrimination including gender identity and sexual orientation. The goal of this bill was to further increase gender diversity in the workplace and broaden the terms for anti-discrimination towards the LGBTQ+. A 2020 survey done by the Center for American Progress released that one in three LGBTQ+ adults, including three in five transgender adults, experienced discrimination in their place of work. Biden hopes to decrease the discrimination towards the LGBTQ+.
After a year in office, there is too much to cover in one article. This just summarizes some of the executive actions Biden has taken since January of 2021. While there are still some promises left unkept by our current president, things are happening day in and day out on capitol hill and it is important to keep up with the news in our country and around the world.