A Busy Road Ahead: President Biden’s Plan for His First 100 Days in Office
Updated: Jan 13
President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20. Just hours after Inauguration, he signed a flurry of executive orders, the start of an ambitious 100 day agenda. (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr)
A deadly pandemic, an economic crisis, and an extremely divided America ― regardless of political affiliation, it is undeniable that President Biden has a lot on his plate.
Within only a few hours following his Inauguration, the new President made it exceedingly clear that he intends to undo much of his predecessor’s actions. This goal, combined with sweeping immigration reform, defeating a deadly pandemic, and economic relief, is ambitious indeed. Nevertheless, with determination and an aggressive pace, this is what President Biden has planned for his first 100 days in office.
What has been accomplished so far
A mere few hours after he was sworn into office, President Biden signed a flurry of executive orders, most of which aimed to undo Trump’s policies. “There’s no time to start like today,” the President told reporters in the Oval Office, while signing a stack of papers.
First and foremost, Biden instituted a mask mandate on federal property as part of the “100 Days Masking Challenge” that he asked Americans to partake in. In total, he signed 17 executive orders on Inaugeration Day, including ending the funding for the construction of Trump’s border wall, repealing Trump’s travel ban aimed largely at Muslim countries, and the reversal of several of Trump’s withdrawls from international agreements, such as the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization. The President also appointed a coronavirus response coordinator to supervise the White House’s efforts to administer and distribute vaccines and medical supplies. President Biden plans to follow each remaining day of January with a specific theme of actions to accomplish. Some notable themes are immigration, climate, equity, and health care..
In the days following his Inaugeration, Biden signed several more executive actions, most notably supporting the reopening of schools, expanding food relief programs, reversing the ban that prevented transgender people from openly serving in the military, ending the Department of Justice’s contracts with private prisons, and officially repealing Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that seperated migrant families at the southern border. That’s only a sampling of Biden’s accomplishments so far. The question is how much more will he be able to do in the upcoming months, given the likelihood of Republican opposition.
What’s yet to come
Aside from the natural difficulties in achieving his ambitious 100 day agenda, Biden will also have to come face to face with challenges from Republican lawmakers, as the president will need to rely on a divided Congress for the funding and passing of his plans. Biden has urged lawmakers to work swiftly and pass a $1.9 trillion relief package, though it is unclear if it will be able to pass as quickly, due to the Senate’s impeachment trial of former President Trump. Moreover, although the Democrats hold a slim majority in both the House and the Senate, Biden will need Republican support in order to get the package passed, and it is unknown how much support from the GOP he will be able to get. In addition to increased economic stimulus, Biden hopes to push other progressive items on his agenda, including raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and increasing funding for community health clinics.
A similar situation in Congress is emerging with vaccine distribution, as part of Biden’s plan to curb the pandemic is to speed up vaccine distribution with a $20 billion federal program that would directly assist local officials in speeding up the process. Biden has also emphasized that he will push for working Americans to receive the vaccine. To further propel vaccine distribution, the Biden Administration plans to use the Defence Production Act to aid and increase the production of protective medical equipment and necessary vaccine supplies.
Biden will also have to tackle racial justice issues within the United States. Included within his stimulus plan are several items that were pushed by the Black Lives Matter movement, including assistance for colored communities who were disproportionately hit by the pandemic, the prioritization of relieving minority-owned small businesses, and funds for the expansion of community health centers. The President has also committed to launching programs to reform the criminal justice system, along with expanding access to health care for women of color. He has made it a priority for his administration to maximize resources for minority communities and communities of color, along with ensuring diversity among his own Cabinet.
Aside from rejoining the Paris Climate accord, ordering federal agencies to reinstate environmental regulations that were set aside by the Trump administration, and repealing the Keystone Pipeline permit, Biden promised early in his campaign that he would use the federal government’s purchasing power to increase the demand for green products. Many experts expect him to do so early on by requiring federal agencies to buy eco-friendly goods such as low-emission vehicles.
Biden has made it very clear that aside from the economy, racial justice, and the pandemic, a huge priority in his administration will be the reformation of immigration. Biden has already committed to repealing much of Trump’s immigration policies; he has already revoked his predecessor’s “zero tolerance” policy and rescinded Trump’s census policy that attempted to exclude illegal immigrants from the census. On top of that, the President has set forth his own immigration bill that would introduce a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants while also increasing development aid to countries in Central America. He also plans to create a task force dedicated to reuniting more than 600 children who have been separated from their parents as a result of the “zero tolerance” policy.
With an extremely packed agenda for the coming months ahead, the Biden administration will be very busy during their first several weeks in office. Is his ambitious agenda achievable, or are his plans overblown to the point of limited success? The answer remains to be seen.