Biden’s 100 days on track with health, economy, climate

Biden

Washington – Our correspondent:

US President Joe Biden has kept most promises made during his election campaign about tackling coronavirus, pandemic-led economic crisis and climate change as he marks his first 100 days in office.

A massive $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package that was signed into law and the US rejoining the Paris climate change agreement have been the highlights during his first three months in the White House.

While his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan is still being debated by lawmakers in Congress, he announced Wednesday a $1.8 trillion plan to help low- and middle-income families, with a heavy focus on children and education, by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Here are some of the key areas Biden promised and has undertaken during his 100 days in the Oval Office.

Pandemic and health

Biden was quick to tackle the coronavirus crisis by ramping up vaccinations and more testing, while he also managed to provide help for the health care sector and also the pandemic-hit American economy through a massive relief package.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan provided direct $1,400 stimulus checks for most individuals, funding for small businesses and reopening schools, in addition to more money for vaccinations, testing and virus tracing.

Biden promised that 100 million vaccine doses would be administered in his first 100 days, through Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson; and that feat was achieved in December on Day 59.

A week later, he revised his target to 200 million shots in his first 100, and the US reached that target on day 92.

Almost 300 million doses have been distributed in the US, while 141 million have been administered.

So far, 96.7 million people, more than 29% of the population, have received two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the US still leads the world in COVID-19 deaths and cases, 32.1 million cases have been recorded there since the start of the pandemic with more than 573,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Biden encouraged Americans to wear facemasks by leading by example and he signed an executive order to require masks in federal buildings and during interstate travel on planes, trains and buses.

Economy

Although Biden wanted to have bipartisan support for his American Rescue Plan, not a single Republican lawmaker supported it. Passing the enormous nearly $2 trillion package has helped the economy to partially recover from the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, more than 22 million people in the world’s largest economy lost jobs in March and April 2020.

The number of unemployed Americans fell to 9.7 million in March 2021, according to the Department of Labor. That number stood at 10.7 million in December.

The unemployment rate also stood at 6.7% in December, and it fell to 6% in March.

Investors perceived such macroeconomic data favorably and major indexes in the US stock market broke record after record during that time.

The Dow Jones hit an all-time high of 34,157 points on April 23, up 10.4% from the 30,930 closing on the day before Biden took the oath of office on Jan. 20.

While the S&P 500 soared to a record 4,196 on Tuesday, gaining 10.5% from 3,798 during that period, the Nasdaq hit its high of 14,171, also on Tuesday, a 7.4% increase from 13,197 points.

Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan includes investments in the US’ aging infrastructure to improve roads, bridges and rails, and it aims to provide finance for manufacturing, innovation, research and development in clean energy.

The president, in addition, announced Wednesday a $1.8 trillion plan that combines $1 trillion in investment with $800 billion in tax cuts and credits for middle- and lower-income American families. The plan aims to increase taxes on the wealthy to 39.6%, reversing Trump’s 2017 tax cuts from 39.6% to 37% for the top 1% earners.

Climate change

Biden pledged on April 22 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by the end of 2030. He aims to cut greenhouse gas population from 2005 levels.

His plan represents a near-doubling of the target the US committed to under the 2015 Paris Agreement, which Trump had withdrawn the country from, but Biden immediately rejoined after taking the office.

To achieve that goal, the Biden administration analyzed how every sector of the economy can reduce emissions and pollution through innovation, opportunities and competitiveness.

Biden urged world leaders the same day at his Leaders Summit on Climate last week via video conference, highlighting that his steps will set America on a path of a net-zero emission economy by no later than 2050.

He said building a critical infrastructure to produce and deploy clean technology is “a moral and economic imperative.”