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By Arham Barbhuiya

Junior, GW

The initial period of a leader’s term is extremely important. It sets the groundwork for actions and policies that will affect their nation later, and it also is extremely critical in fostering public confidence in their new head of state. While President Joe Biden’s first 100 days were by no means amazing, his administration’s competent leadership has so far made effective use of the pre-existing fiscal resources and medical infrastructure at his disposal in order to legitimately improve and secure the health, finances, and future of Americans. More specifically, his rapid mass vaccination campaign, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and the cancellation of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, were all highlights. 

 

America was in crisis when Joe Biden became president. The most significant of all the challenges we faced was the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately — both for Biden and the U.S. at large — two vaccines were cleared for use just a month earlier. As such, the tools were in place to vaccinate the American public and start combating the virus effectively. Knowing this, prior to entering office, Biden promised to have 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days. He not only kept his promise, but exceeded it. At the time this op-ed was written, roughly 202 million vaccines have been administered to the American people. As such, it can be said that his handling of the pandemic, so far, has been good. The American people seem to agree with this assessment; according to an IPSOS poll conducted in late March, roughly 72% of Americans approved of Biden’s covid response. 

 

President Biden has also taken effective action on the economy. In 2020, the U.S. economy was absolutely ravaged by the virus; the national GDP contracted 3.5%. Therefore, overseeing some sort of economic recovery was paramount. Despite its losses in 2020, America had started to see its economy grow again in the last few months of President Trump’s term. As such, Biden came into office with the ball rolling on economic issues. On March 11, he signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act. This economic stimulus package provided over 1.9 trillion dollars in relief through things like stimulus checks (that had previously been issued under other Covid relief bills) and direct payments to state and local governments. Its benefits are concentrated to middle class and low income Americans; according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the bill will increase the incomes of the poorest 20% of Americans by nearly $4000. Because these individuals are more likely to spend the money they receive rather than save it, this was a smart move for America. 

 

The Biden administration’s climate policy — specifically their decisions to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and cancel the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline — is also commendable. Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement was not that much of a victory; it was the obviously correct course of action and essentially required no effort. Still, this decision will leave a positive impact on the nation as it will allow for cooperation with other nations to combat the effects of climate change. His decision to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline was also smart. If the pipeline was completed, the American economy would be forced to rely heavily on tar sand oil from Canada; this would significantly increase the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. While there is much more to be done, the President’s climate policy actions have pushed the nation in the right direction. 

 

Evidenced by his pandemic response and climate change policy, Biden has been a good president. However, frankly speaking, his achievements are to be expected and are not that remarkable; he came into office with a lot of resources available. The next few years will be a critical time in American history as we enter an increasingly interconnected post pandemic world — one that will be marked by an increasingly powerful China. Hopefully, Biden will continue to effectively lead America as we progress deeper into an uncertain future.

 

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