First 100 Days: Biden/Harris Administration
Promises made … Promises kept … So far so goodEven before their 100-day marker, there is much to celebrate with the Biden/Harris administration team. The TEAM is off to a great start. Lucky for us, the TEAM is comprised of professionals with highly developed skills who are able to work as a team. Through them, quiet boldness makes itself visible in compassion, empathy and hope, extended freely and expressed daily, wherever they are called. With gratitude, we are told to expect more policy changes to address the needs and challenges facing ordinary, hardworking Americans. Because they inherited a mess, their priority task is an urgent, wide-ranging cleanup.
Today, each of us breathes a sigh of relief as we witness their laser focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, which after more than a year, continues its heavy impact on the health and welfare of millions, along with unspeakable sadness from the profound loss of more than a half million American lives caused by this ever-mutating virus. Perhaps most significant of all, families and friends can now look forward to the time when hugs will again be shared, as often as possible with all, in every growing circle of folks who love and care for each other. To this end, in just 50 days, over 100 million Americans have been vaccinated, with a promise all Americans who want to be vaccinated will be able to by May 1st, months ahead of schedule … clearly an early, unexpected major achievement. Among the accomplishments of the Biden/Harris Team, here are some of the most far reaching.
Passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) will help to uplift working Americans, despite not one single supporting vote from Congressional Republicans. In contrast, a PEW Research Center poll found over 70 percent of U.S. adults support the ARP, including 40 percent of Republicans. This Plan includes: 1) $1,400 direct payments to eligible workers to help buy food; 2) extending unemployment benefits; 3) expanding the child tax credit; 4) funding vaccine distribution adequately; and 5) $1 billion to help schools, colleges and universities to open safely. Further, the Plan provides financial assistance to state and county governments to ensure prevention of furloughs of our first responders—police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and health care providers. Another key benefit of the Plan is it reduces children’s poverty rate in the U.S. by approximately 50 percent.
The vaccinations goal being ahead of schedule expresses President Biden’s hope the nation will begin to have a collective sense of normalcy and once again we can celebrate the July 4th Independence Day at traditional barbecues with loved ones.
Rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO) amidst the pandemic crisis, allows the U.S. to lead in combating the virus to assure global health and security. By executive order, this 1) establishes the position of a COVID-19 response coordinator within the Executive Office; 2) accelerates the development of COVID-19 therapies that can be easily manufactured, distributed and administered; 3) provides surge assistance to critical care and long-term care facilities and 4) supports the reopening and continuing operation of schools, including early childhood centers, for in-person learning.
Economic relief is addressed in the Executive Orders that will 1) pause Federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at zero percent; 2) ensure the future is “Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers,” to encourage American companies to produce needed products here at home and 3) protect the Federal workforce, including putting Federal agencies on a path to require a $15 minimum wage for contractors.
The Executive Order on health care strengthens Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act by extending the enrollment period from February 15 to May 15, to allow more Americans to sign up for health care during the pandemic, as well as directing agencies to address policies that limit access to health care.
To refocus on the climate change crisis, the U.S. will 1) rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact to reduce carbon emissions; 2) protect public health and the environment by restoring science to tackle the climate crisis; 3) place a temporary moratorium on oil and gas activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge via an Executive Order and revoke the Keystone XL pipeline permit; 4) set climate change as a key consideration for U.S. national security and foreign policy and 5) set the goal of achieving a carbon pollution free electricity sector by 2035, which aims to replace the Federal government’s fleet of automobiles with zero-emission vehicles.
In the arena of immigration, Executive Orders seek to 1) preserve and fortify deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA); 2) direct the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen the regulation which defers the removal of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children; 3) revoke an executive order issued by the previous administration, which made sanctuary jurisdictions and did not comply with immigration enforcement measure ineligible to receive Federal funding; 4) ensure a lawful and accurate enumeration and appointment pursuant to the decennial census which requires all residents of a state be counted in the census, regardless of immigration status; 5) revoke the so-called Muslim ban which restricted foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.; 6) establish a task force aimed at reuniting children who American authorities separated from their families on the border and 7) halt construction and funding of the border wall with respect to the Southern border of the U.S. and redirect funds diverted to border wall construction.
Immediately after their historic inauguration, the Biden/Harris team began to work for the American people, as evidenced by their accomplishments described earlier. Now, their most pressing goals include 1) raising the minimum wage to $15 that will provide a living wage for millions of struggling, hardworking ordinary Americans; 2) especially in light of the recent vicious massacres in Georgia and Colorado, gun control policies must be passed to prevent repetition of senseless deaths and 3) immigration reform is long overdue.
As our nation begins to heal, the TEAM brings much anticipated leadership to our people and the world—to repair broken alliances, to rebuild longtime friendships and to rekindle trusting relationships within and outside our borders. Our widely respected values will once again give the nations of the world a beacon of light to help us all find a better way together. At the same time, a stern rebuke is expressed by President Biden to anti-American leaders who have demonstrated their eagerness to harm our election process and degrade our precious values, still and perhaps more than ever, highly respected by many.
In closing, we share with you a quote from a speech by President Biden, who believes fervently, “Our best days still lie ahead. Together we will choose hope over fear, unity over division, and truth over lies.” Let us all pray for our leaders so they will seek guidance from our Lord Almighty. Let us all be united with a common purpose, “to love our neighbors as ourselves.” As Americans, we have a powerful leadership Team working every day on our behalf. Let every one of us commit to do our share, to help our nation and our people to be the best that we can be.