At the start of his presidential term in Jan. 2021, Joe Biden identified several issues his administration considered to be “immediate priorities.” Nearly 10 months into his presidency, many wonder whether Biden was successful at addressing these issues, has diverted away from them, or has shifted its focus to new and more pressing issues.
What's the Biden administration giving most attention to today? Did any of those priorities get swept under the rug?
The Biden administration remains heavily focused on beating the COVID-19 pandemic
With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, the issue is still drawing a substantial amount of attention from the Biden administration. Part of Biden’s initial plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic was to get the unvaccinated vaccinated. Since April 19, 2021, vaccines have been made available to anyone aged 16 and older (May 2021 for those aged 12 and older).
At the end of Aug. 2021, more than half of the U.S. population had been fully vaccinated (52.6 percent), according to the Mayo Clinic. As of Oct. 28, 2021, that percentage had increased to 57.9 percent. Individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 remain the highest age group to be fully vaccinated in the U.S., with those aged 75 and older right behind.
In addition to expanding the fully vaccinated population, the Biden administration is issuing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, one of which is scheduled to take effect soon. The new rule will require employers with 100 or more employees to “ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated” or test the unvaccinated weekly.
The Biden administration continues its efforts to tackle climate change
The Biden administration is tackling the issue of climate change through its Build Back Better framework. Biden is putting forth “the largest effort to combat climate change in American history.” The framework proposes to “cut greenhouse gas pollution by well over one gigaton in 2030, reduce consumer energy costs, and create thousands of high-quality jobs.”
Healthcare was an immediate priority at the start of Biden’s term—how is it being addressed today?
Biden said he was committed to making healthcare more affordable for Americans. The Biden administration’s framework says it “will reduce premiums for more than 9 million Americans by extending the expanded Premium Tax Credit.” The framework also aims to expand Medicare, allowing recipients to receive coverage for vision, dental, and hearing.
Strengthening the middle class is also at the top of the Biden administration’s agenda
The framework for Biden’s Build Back Better Act promises to “make the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in history.” It also calls for allowing more people to access affordable high-quality education and “cutting taxes for 17 million low-wage workers by extending the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.”
Leading the U.S. is a tough job, and although the Biden administration has been scrutinized for its failure to deliver on certain promises, it has made progress in addressing many of the issues it initially said it would work to combat.