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Biden’s First Hundred Days

Former President Donald Trump's attacks on free trade and immigration, narrow “America First” view of the world, and bias toward retrenchment have become part of the US political fabric. As Joe Biden's first hundred days in office have shown, the one thing American presidents cannot control is the context in which they operate.

WASHINGTON, DC – Joe Biden has been president of the United States for one hundred days, less than 7% of the time he was elected to serve. Still, it is not too soon to draw some tentative conclusions about the nature of his presidency.

Biden’s principal accomplishment to date is the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine supply and the acceleration of domestic immunization. Some 220 million doses have been administered in the US since Biden took office. There is more than enough supply to ensure that every adult can be vaccinated. The daily death toll from the disease has fallen from over 4,000 per day to well under 1,000. The economy is poised to take off, with some even worrying that it could overheat.

In these same hundred days, the basic themes of the Biden presidency, articulated in his April 28 address to Congress, have emerged: an emphasis on tackling domestic challenges, a vastly expanded role for the federal government in both stimulating the economy and in providing basic services and financial support for citizens, and a commitment to confront racism, modernize infrastructure, increase the country’s competitiveness, and combat climate change. There is also a willingness to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for some of what these initiatives will cost. How much of this agenda can be realized remains to be seen; for now, comparisons between Biden and Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Lyndon B. Johnson are understandable but somewhat premature.

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