President Joe Biden has moved fast since his January 20 swearing-in, signing a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill into law less than two months into his term and issuing more executive orders so far than his three predecessors.
Those efforts have paid off, with the administration reaching the milestones of 200 million coronavirus shots delivered and vaccine eligibility opened to everyone 16 and over before Biden’s 100th day in office. Unemployment is falling, with new jobless claims hitting a pandemic low, and schools are reopening for in-person learning, returning kids and families to a semblance of normal life.
And Biden has delivered on his pledge to return the presidency to what it looked like before his predecessor Donald Trump, replacing tweets with daily press briefings and bringing in a Cabinet and staff of seasoned experts.
He has made less progress toward his goal of restoring bipartisanship and unity. Not a single Senate Republican voted for the Covid bill, and even moderate Democrats are balking in the face of unified GOP opposition to other goals like immigration revisions, extending voting rights or passing Biden’s next agenda item, a massive infrastructure package.
As a candidate, Biden issued dozens of comprehensive plans for what he would do as President. But the administration has faced hurdles, including a surge of unaccompanied minors coming across the US-Mexico border. And in some cases, Biden’s approach has shifted. For example, the White House recently stood down on creating a policing commission that Biden had said he would establish during his first 100 days in office, opting instead to push for legislation in Congress.
Here are some of Biden’s main goals for his first 100 days and how he did:
Biden came into office pledging to administer 100 million vaccine shots by his 100th day in office, after Trump fell short of his goal to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of 2020. The Biden administration reached its 100 million-shot goal in mid-March, about 40 days ahead of schedule. The administration reached 200 million vaccine doses on April 21 – a week ahead of Biden’s updated timetable.
To speed up and secure an increased vaccine supply, the President invoked the Defense Production Act with Pfizer and Moderna, as well as in a deal with pharmaceutical rivals Merck and Johnson & Johnson – though delivery of Johnson’s vaccine later was temporarily paused by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Biden also committed to having the US purchase hundreds of millions more coronavirus vaccine doses throughout his first months in office. Now the White House says the US will have enough vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May.
To increase Americans’ access to vaccines, the Biden administration started a federal retail pharmacy program that turned more pharmacies into vaccination sites. It also opened up vaccinations at community health centers and set up federally run vaccination centers across the country. The President ordered an expansion of the list of eligible vaccinators to include dentists, midwives, paramedics and optometrists, among other professionals, to meet increased demand. The administration also committed to partnering with community organizations to transport seniors and people with disabilities to get their vaccinations.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was passed in March, provided billions in funding to bolster vaccinations.
The President has also pledged up to $4 billion in a US contribution to Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX.
Biden has put public health experts and scientists front and center in a number of roles within the administration. He tapped Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who had a contentious relationship with Trump, as chief medical adviser and elevated the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to a Cabinet-level position. And his administration restarted frequent Covid-19 briefings featuring federal government’s public health experts, including Fauci, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the head of the White House’s Covid-19 health equity task force.
Days before his inauguration, Biden put forth a massive economic relief proposal, asking Congress to approve $1.9 trillion in funding to provide Americans with another round of stimulus checks, aid for the unemployed, support for small businesses and money to help schools reopen safely.