A hundred days on his presidency, Biden administration is quite enjoying a honeymoon, the entire administration predecessor could only have dreamed of.
Biden has filled his first 100 days with executive actions aimed at making progress on each of them: use of the Defence Production Act to jump-start vaccine production, reversal of many Trump-era immigration policies, a return to the Paris Climate Agreement, and a resumption of Justice Department investigations into out-of-control police departments.
After winning the 2020 election, most Americans appear to be on board.
Public polling taken at various points during the first months of his term shows Mr Biden garnering the approval of anywhere from half to 60 per cent of his countrymen, thanks at least in part to a vaccination programme that has cut the number of new coronavirus cases in most of the country, and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which he signed last month, putting $1,400 stimulus checks into millions of people’s pockets.
Mr Biden has also benefited from the Republican Party’s failure to negatively define and demonise him in the eyes of voters in the way they did the first Black president, a task made yet more difficult by tensions within the GOP caused by Mr Trump’s push to remain apolitical kingmaker despite presiding over the loss of the House, Senate and White House.
Yet despite the new administration’s successes at rolling back the most controversial policies of the Trump era and addressing the coronavirus pandemic with vaccines and stimulus programmes over his first 100 days, the political friction built into America’s system of governance means the success or failure of Mr Biden’s legislative programme over his next 100 will turn on his ability to move beyond flexing his executive muscles.
“It is gonna be a steeper climb. If only because so much of what you can do in the first 100 days, just as in any presidency, is a lot of low hanging fruit … the things that you can do with executive orders, for example, that is reversing the previous administration’s executive orders, those kinds of things,” said Tony Fratto, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies who served in the George W Bush administration.
Mr Fratto said the Biden administration does have some momentum heading into the next 100 days, but will face strong headwinds that could make it more difficult to take the same kind of quick action it took to muscle the American Rescue Plan through Congress.
With the American Rescue Plan Act, Democrats were able to use the budget reconciliation process to avoid the need to garner a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate for legislation that involves taxes or spending.
While a recent ruling by the senate’s parliamentarian gives Democrats the ability to use the normally once-a-year process on multiple occasions, Mr Fratto suggested that having that ability would subject the White House to more pressure from its leftward flank.
But at the same time, using reconciliation to pass Biden’s American Jobs Plan or American Families Plan infrastructure packages with only Democratic votes could poison the well for other non-spending priorities such as immigration, voting rights or police reform. So, too, could such moves backfire by alienating centrist Democrats – such as Arizona’s Krysten Sinema or West Virginia’s Joe Manchin – who would normally support the president’s priorities.
“Other bites of the apple on future reconciliations on some of these plans, they become more challenging, and there is a question as to whether your strategy becomes counterproductive by doing that,” he said.
Another veteran Washington hand, People for the American Way President Ben Jealous, said Mr Biden “has been accelerating” during his first 100 days by way of his own executive authority and the relatively fast pace at which the Senate has been confirming his nominees, but said the pace of progress could slow down once the Senate gets involved in legislation.
“He is going to have to maintain his momentum … in the face of great headwinds being generated by Mitch McConnell and the GOP,” he said, adding later that Mr Biden’s next 100 days will also come with “the challenge of making the case for restoring majority rule in the Senate”.
A new poll released that shows only 36 per cent of likely voters said they approved of the job the “president” is doing after his first 100 days. This is according to a new Rasmussen poll.
It was previously told that Joe has a 765 per cent approval rating.
According to the new survey, 44 per cent said the first 100 days were a failure and 18 per cent said they were somewhere in between good and bad.
Rasmussen Reports Poll: Only 36 Percent of Voters Rate Biden’s First 100 Days a Successhttps://t.co/ZfVU9ubBmW
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 30, 2021
Perhaps no non-spending priority is as important to the Biden administration and Democrats – and reviled by Republicans – like voting rights.