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The triumphs and challenges of Joe Biden’s first 100 days as US president

Joe Biden has anchored the first 100 days of his presidency on two key goals: delivering COVID-19 vaccines to the masses and offering financial relief in response to the pandemic via a $US1.9-trillion-dollar stimulus package.

The 46th US president is set to mark his first 100 days with a televised speech on Wednesday (local time) in what will be his first address to Congress.

He’s expected to promote what he touts as a plan of massive government spending to get the United States back on its feet and striding forward in a new direction.

US political expert David Smith says the earliest days of the presidency are a time of critical importance, where it is necessary to showcase political skill.

Joe Biden

“It is a time when you have the most goodwill from your party, the other party, the media, and the public, so what any president does in that time is significant,” Professor Smith told SBS News.

In Mr. Biden’s case, he took just hours to begin dismantling predecessor Donald Trump’s legacy, signing off on more than a dozen executive orders relating to the COVID-19 response, immigration, and climate change, among other issues.

The coronavirus response

Ahead of his 100-day milestone, Mr. Biden has hailed the delivery of 200 million COVID-19 vaccine shots ahead of the deadline.

The president has also progressed his government’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, having formally unveiled an “American Rescue Plan” financial package that passed Congress in March.

The president had to work hard to get the nearly $US2 trillion plan passed, with the Democrats’ margin in Congress being razor-thin.

He has followed through on a promise to support Americans via stimulus checks, funding for schools to implement safety measures and reopen, small business funding, and money for vaccinations, testing, and contact tracing.

“Biden inherited a very ineffective structure of response to the coronavirus at both a state and federal level, and he had two obvious priorities – handling the COVID-19 crisis and the economic crisis that came with that,” Professor Smith said.

“He has achieved this via his stimulus package, which has been key in alleviating the crisis, and his handling of the vaccine rollout has been one of the most successful in the world.”


A short time into his tenure, Mr. Biden moved to end his predecessor’s travel ban on immigration from primarily Muslim-majority and African countries. Mr. Biden had promised a more humane approach after Mr. Trump’s hardline crackdown, which relied mainly on physical barriers. He canceled funding for the US-Mexico border wall.

But the Biden administration has stumbled on handling illegal immigration at the southern border.

The new administration was unprepared for the surge in people from Central America, who overwhelmed facilities with unaccompanied migrant children and fuelled critics with political ammunition.

And the sense of disarray has only been fuelled by the Biden administration’s back-and-forth on promises to increase the cap on refugees allowed into the United States significantly.

Professor Smith said immigration was one area where Mr. Biden had fallen short.

“The administration has been sending mixed signals, but this is not a problem that will go away; there has already been a surge of asylum seekers at the border, and with the US withdrawing from Afghanistan, there could be another surge in the refugee crisis,” Professor Smith said.

“Biden needs to deliver on his immigration policies, even if this proves politically challenging.”

Climate change

Mr. Biden moved quickly to rewind several of Mr. Trump’s environmental policies and bring the United States back into the Paris climate accords.

Last week, he went a step further and convened a 40-nation climate summit where he announced a doubling of US targets for greenhouse gas reductions.

Mr. Biden’s new goal is to cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent from 2005 to 2030.

Associate Professor Smith described the target as ambitious, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week said it was “game-changing”.

“This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” Mr. Biden said at the White House earlier this month.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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