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Biden’s first month: a record of decrees and stumbling blocks in Congress

It started at full speed and ran into Congress. In his first month in office, the president, Joe Biden, has signed a record of decrees and restored calm to Washington, but he has also had to assume that it will not be easy to pass his most ambitious plans.

Biden served a month in the White House with a record under his arm: he is the president who has issued the most executive orders in the modern history of the United States, with at least 31, one more than those signed by the president who he considers his great political reference: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945).

Most of these decrees, to which are added another twenty unilateral measures, were concentrated in the first ten days of Biden’s mandate, who wanted to act brilliantly to stop in his tracks many priorities of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and turn the helm of the Government towards more progressive policies.

“He came with a range of executive orders to undo all the damage that the Trump Administration caused, but he knows that it is important to go beyond that,” a White House spokeswoman told Efe, who requested anonymity.

THE HARD PART: WORKING WITH CONGRESS

His most ambitious plans, like his $ 1.9 trillion proposal to rescue the economy from the effects of the pandemic and his immigration reform, depend on the cooperation of a Congress where Democrats have such a narrow majority that it will be almost impossible to pass. laws without the collaboration of Republicans.

Before he came to power on January 20, Biden’s advisers studied Roosevelt’s first 100 days as a role model, but there is a big difference between the Washington of today and the one that welcomed that president in the 1930s. who signed 15 laws in his first three months to lift the country out of the Great Depression.

“Roosevelt ruled with huge Democratic majorities in Congress, and even some support among the Republican minority. Biden has the narrowest majorities possible, and it is unlikely that almost no Republicans will vote for his policies, “recalled a presidential historian at the University of Albany, Bruce Miroff.

That implies that Biden will have better prospects of approving the points on his agenda that generate consensus in the country, such as the economic rescue package, than those that are perceived as more “progressive”, such as immigration reform and other social issues, Miroff said. .

THREE GREAT PRIORITIES

Although the polarization in Congress has forced the Biden administration to accept that many changes will not come as quickly as they would like, the White House insists that it has not diminished its sense of urgency, especially regarding the vaccination campaign against the covid-19 and the rescue of the economy.

On that last point, there is already a deadline: the White House wants Congress to approve it before March 14, when key unemployment benefits expire, and everything indicates that the Democrats will resort to a legal maneuver to be able to approve the package in the Senate even if they don’t have support among Republicans.

Biden will also need the help of Congress, as well as the teachers’ unions, for the second big priority of his first 100 days, which ends on April 30: getting most of the schools that teach under-18s reopen. 14 years, now closed due to the pandemic.

Regarding the vaccination campaign, Biden is on track to fulfill his promise to administer at least 100 million doses in his first 100 days in power, and has reached an average of 1.5 million vaccines administered per day in the country , according to the White House.

“The government is making great strides in the distribution of vaccines, taking into account how poorly prepared everything was when they came to power,” Alasdair Roberts, professor of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, told ..

THE GREAT DISTRACTION: THE POLITICAL TRUMP OF TRUMP

It’s also frustrating for Biden that the impeachment over the Capitol storming, which ended a week ago with Trump’s acquittal, absorbed nearly all of the Senate’s time and Washington’s attention during part of its first month.

“That has delayed the confirmation of some of the nominees of his cabinet,” observed for Efe Karen Hult, an expert on the US Presidency at Virginia Tech University.

So far, the Senate has only confirmed 7 of the 23 nominees for Biden’s cabinet, with absences as notable as the candidates for Secretary of Health or Justice; compared to the 11 that were ratified both during Trump’s first month and during Barack Obama’s first (2009-2017).

FROM CHAOS TO CALM

At the international level, Biden has already taken important steps such as the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate, and has assured allies most concerned about Trump’s isolationism that his administration is willing to get involved again on the scene. global, including fighting the pandemic.

The chaos that marked Trump’s first month in power has been conspicuous by its absence in the same period as Biden, although his White House has had to face a small scandal, the one generated by a spokesman who had to resign after threatening to a journalist who was going to publish information about her love life.

And behind were the tweets with groundbreaking announcements that defined the Trump Presidency: Biden’s account on Twitter, @POTUS, only emits careful messages with positions already expressed by his Government. The biggest surprise is an appearance by his dogs, Champ and Major, or a video about the new president’s morning routine.