Biden’s Top 2021 Accomplishments, Despite Republican Obstruction
After one year in office, the loudest criticism in the mainstream media is that President Biden is failing to deliver on campaign promises. However, focusing on missed expectations provides a skewed view of reality, especially if we think back to how the previous presidency failed in such disastrous and unprecedented ways.
The Biden-Harris Administration has, in fact, accomplished a lot in one year, despite a long-drawn-out pandemic, slim majorities, and blatant obstructionism by Senator Mitch McConnell and the GOP. The administration reduced unemployment down to 3.9%, distributed free vaccines to all Americans who wanted them, cut child poverty down by almost 40%, and appointed the most federal judges of any President’s first year in 40 years.
Biden’s Top Accomplishments
Simply put, President Biden inherited a huge mess when he assumed office. He reversed many harmful Trump-era policies, repairing serious damage done by his predecessor, including:
- Halting construction of the border wall.
- Rejoining the World Health Organization.
- Removing the unjust ban on transgender Americans joining the military.
- Re-prioritizing climate change action after the previous administration sweepingly dismantled environmental protections. Some of the actions President Biden took:
- Rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.
- Cancelled permits for the 1209-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline.
- Tightened auto pollution rules.
- Pledged to make the federal government carbon-neutral by 2050.
The Biden-Harris administration’s biggest achievements lie in their rational response to the COVID-19 pandemic (which the Trump administration completely failed to do) and shaping the country’s economy, infrastructure, and federal courts for the next decade.
Here are some of these achievements:
Passed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 response and relief plan that got 74% of American adults vaccinated and boosted economic recovery from Trump-era lows. Not a single Republican voted for this plan.
As part of the American Rescue Plan, President Biden:
- Established a child tax credit that cut child poverty almost in half,
- Paused student loan repayment,
- Canceled student loan debt for 300,000 students with severe disabilities, and
- Canceled millions in student debt for students of for-profit schools.
- Passed a historic $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. This bill impacts critical infrastructure from roads and bridges to water and energy, and addresses economic disparities for communities of color by increasing their access to public transportation, internet, and disaster preparation.
- Ended America's longest war that cost almost a trillion dollars. The withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been executed better, but our troops are finally home after 20 years of war.
- Nominated 73 individuals to Federal judgeships with 41 confirmed (as of January 12) - the most confirmed in a President’s first year since the Reagan era. Of the confirmed judges, 80 percent are women and 53 percent are people of color. This is an important accomplishment because our most critical rights are handled by the federal courts.
The Republican party has made it their priority to block President Biden’s agenda at every possible opportunity.
Over 440 bills restricting voting access were introduced in almost every state in 2021. As of December 7, at least 19 states have passed 34 of these laws by only Republican votes. The federal Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would have made these laws illegal. A lot of media focus has been on Senators Manchin and Sinema refusing to change senate rules to pass the federal bill, but let's not forget that not one Republican in the US Senate will protect our freedom to vote while every Senator in the Democratic caucus supports the bill.
The Republicans have also unanimously blocked the Build Back Better Act which includes essential and humane investments in child care and health care. They are denying Americans:
- Free high quality Pre-K education
- Child-care support and extension of the Child Tax Credit
- Affordable prescription drugs
- Health insurance coverage for millions of low-income Americans
- Medicare coverage for hearing aids and services.
In addition, the GOP has not supported any policies to fight the climate change crisis. They are against investing in:
- Reductions in greenhouse emissions and vehicle emissions
- Lowering energy costs in homes and factories
- Transitioning to clean energy and funding for climate research
- Protections for our national resources from further oil and gas drilling.
With their track record of obstruction, we concur with President Biden when he asks - “What are Republicans for”?
President Biden has managed to lead the Democratic Party to massive achievements in tough circumstances. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the progress that’s been made as we regroup to face the coming year’s challenges together.
Photo courtesy of Sophie.
-Sha-Mayn, Program Director [bio]