In a TIME article last month, authors compared the country that President Joe Biden inherited to one that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn into.
The question still remains whether Biden can be as impactful as FDR in his first 100 days. So what has the president done thus far to help Americans in need of COVID relief, higher education, and anti-racism and social justice measures?
Congress is currently still working through COVID-19 relief, but the House’s budget reconciliation plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks for those making up to $75,000 (with checks phasing out at $100,000 yearly income), $400 expanded weekly unemployment insurance benefits through August 29, and a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025. Also within the House budget bill is language that would appropriate nearly $40 billion to higher education institutions for COVID-19 relief.
On the first day of his administration, Biden requested, then the Education Department extended the pause on federal student loan payments through September. Despite pushback from Democratic Congressional leaders and higher education advocates, last week Biden said he would not use executive authority for a $50,000 student-loan forgiveness plan, stating he does not believe he has the authority to forgive that amount. The president said he remains committed to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans, though that remains to be seen. Congress also has the authority to forgive student loans and CFA will continue to advocate for this loan forgiveness and hold the president accountable. Biden also continues to talk about his proposal for tuition-free community college for all students and public college for families that earn less than $125,000 a year. For more updates, follow the Chronicle of Higher Education here.
As for his promises related to equity, immigration, and criminal justice (topics relevant to CFA’s anti-racism and social justice commitments), Biden has followed through on half of his promises in the first third of his 100 day agenda, according to trackbiden.com. The president made the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program permanent, he sent a bill to Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, his administration stopped family separation at the US-Mexico border (though much more is needed, as the ACLU mentions the new administration’s memo on ICE enforcement is a disappointment from their early commitments), and Biden ended the previous administration’s executive order banning travelers from some Muslim-majority countries. The president also repealed the transgender military ban and eliminated restrictions on union workers.