As President Biden marks his first 100 days in office, Dr Trevor McCrisken of the Department of Politics and International Relations looks back over what he has accomplished in that time, and what it might tell us about his further four years in office.
Dr Trevor McCrisken said: “President Joe Biden marks his 100th day in office today, following an address to a Joint Session of the US Congress last night in which he unveiled a $1.8 trillion social spending plan designed to transform government help for American families.
“The 100 days is an artificial construct that has become a symbolic measure of how well a US president is doing since taking office. It dates back to the opening 100 days of the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency in 1933 when he pushed through an unprecedented number of new bills and laws to address the economic and social impacts of the Great Depression - the beginnings of his New Deal. Commentators and analysts now use this marker as a date by which they will make early assessments of how engaged and effective a US president is being.
“In Biden's case he has very much hit the ground running. He's presided over a rapid rolling out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme and passed a significant coronavirus relief package; returned the US to the Paris Climate Accord and promised significant cuts in US carbon emissions; emphasised tackling racial injustice and confronting the domestic terrorism threat from white supremacists; begun negotiations to re-join the Iran nuclear deal; signalled that all US forces will finally leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of '9/11' this autumn; announced an ambitious infrastructure plan; and now promises higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans to fund his American Families Plan. There are early indications that this could prove to be a transformational American presidency.
“Not everything has gone Biden's way, however, as he's found it difficult to unpick some of Donald Trump's actions, especially on immigration. His Democratic party also has only slim majorities in Congress that make elements of his agenda vulnerable to Republican resistance. The 100 days is also a rather false measurement of how successful a president will be - it is far too early to judge whether Biden will be able to deliver on his promises and how permanent any changes he makes to US politics will be. The nation remains highly polarised and the pendulum swings of partisan politics are likely to prove as difficult to navigate for Biden as they have been for any other modern president. He will be judged much more by the full 4 years of his presidency rather than the first 100 days.”
29 April 2021
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)
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