TWN Readers: Pace of Vaccinations Tops Biden’s Accomplishments in First 100 Days
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden entered the White House promising that by the time his first 100 days in office had elapsed, at least 100 million COVID-19 vaccines would be administered.
As of Sunday, four days shy of Biden’s 100-day landmark, 290,692,005 doses of the vaccine have been distributed, with 78% or 228,661,408, already finding their way into patients’ arms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Given the toll the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on the American people, it’s little wonder that a majority of participants in a recent series of polls by The Well News listed “getting the vaccine distribution under control” as the president’s greatest accomplishments in his first 100 days.
The polls were run by The Well News on Twitter beginning on March 11 and concluding April 26. Each poll consisted of four options and was run for three days. There were a total of 12 options with each running two times.
The surveys found that Biden’s first weeks in office were dominated by the pandemic, as he promised they would be.
As the president prepares to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, at least 139,978,480 people or 42% of the population have received at least one dose, the CDC said, and 86,759,346 people — or 26% of the population — have already been fully vaccinated.
Several other pandemic-related actions and accomplishments also resonated with readers of The Well News.
For instance, the number two item on the poll’s list of accomplishments was the March passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, number five was his decision to rejoin the World Health Organization, and number eight was placing a moratorium on housing foreclosures.
In fact, things are going so well on the vaccination front that the administration announced Monday it will soon begin releasing 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries, as they become available.
Previously, the White House had said it would focus on vaccinating Americans before turning to other countries. But given the pace of vaccinations here, and the worsening crises in other countries, the time is right for a slight change in focus, administration officials said
Number three on the list of Biden’s accomplishments, according to our readers, was protecting so-called Dreamers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents — and their families by reinstating DACA, otherwise known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The Obama-era policy was intended to protect the innocent against deportation. In March Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his agency was issuing a rule to “preserve and fortify DACA,” but the policy faces a Texas court challenge that could invalidate some protections.
Environmentalists among The Well News readers gave Biden high marks, ranking his decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, as the fifth most important accomplishment of his first 100 days in office, and his rescinding the Keystone XL oil pipeline permit as his ninth greatest accomplishment to date.
In fact, on the climate front, Biden has been on something of a tear since taking the oath of office on Jan. 20.
In addition to the measures identified in the poll, he’s protected the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve from oil and gas exploration, imposed an indefinite moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters, and just last week, convened a climate world summit to persuade nations to set more ambitious emissions pledges.
As he prepared to take office in January, president-elect Biden vowed to make his cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history, promising it would better represent the makeup of the country.
The Well News readers believe he’s kept his word, and placed the makeup of his cabinet as his seventh most significant accomplishment to date.
When considered through the prism of race and gender, Biden’s cabinet is nearly 55% nonwhite and 45% female.
By comparison, former President Donald Trump’s cabinet was 82% White and 82% male.
Biden’s Cabinet also includes multiple historic nominations, including in Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay secretary confirmed to the cabinet; Janet Yellen, the first woman to lead the Treasury Department; and Deb Haaland, the first Native American in a a presidential cabinet.
Buttigieg is the head of the Transportation Department, while Haaland is now the top person at the Interior Department.
Five days after taking office, Biden issued an executive order to push federal agencies to buy more products made in the United States, and TWN readers made that action the fifth most popular accomplishment of his first 100 days.
Biden’s executive order, signed Jan. 25, built on two existing laws — the Buy American and Buy America statutes, but neither had been substantially updated for decades, and in some ways they were ignored when it came to federal contracts.
Biden’s order directed the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to propose new rules to tighten up the requirements of the existing laws.
Specifically, the executive order said that within 180 days, the FAR Council should consider: replacing the “component test” (which says that over 50% of a product’s cost must have a domestic origin), increasing the numerical threshold for domestic content requirements for construction materials and end products, and increasing the price preferences for domestic construction materials and end products.
Number 10 on the list is easy to see but harder to quantify — restoring alliances with foreign allies that had been frayed during the Trump administration.
Since making his first call to a foreign leader as president in January — the recipient was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Biden has called more than a dozen other world leaders.
He’s also hosted Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House, and just recently announced his first foreign trip as president in June, visiting the United Kingdom and Belgium.
The trip aims to highlight the president’s “commitment to restoring our alliances, to revitalising the transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies,” White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said.
While overseas Biden will attend the June 11-13 Group of Seven G7 summit in Cornwall, the UK, where he will hold bilateral meetings with G7 leaders including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the White House said.
Coming in at number 11 among TWN reader’s is another geopolitical accomplishment — getting Russian President Vladimir Putin to agree to extend the New START nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
While some details remain to be worked out, the two leaders agreed to extend the pact, which was about to expire, for another five years.
Formally called the “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,” the agreement limits Washington and Moscow’s deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 each. It was signed in 2010, entered force on February 5, 2011 and was set to expire on its 10th anniversary.
Rounding out the poll, at number 12, was the Biden administration’s expansion of LGBT protections.
In late January, Biden signed an executive order to combat discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care, housing and education.
Prior to Biden taking office, the Supreme Court had found, in an employment discrimination case known as Bostock v. Claynon County, that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because they are gay or transgender.
Biden interpreted the landmark decision more broadly, and extended the protections mandated by the high court ruling to health care, housing and education.
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