Washington, D.C. — Today, just ahead of his 100th day in office, President Joe Biden delivered his first joint address to Congress. John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
In his first 100 days in office, President Biden has set our country on a path to build back better—and he’s making big progress already, with more ahead.
On January 20, America was a nation in crisis. Collectively, we were reeling from the January 6 white supremacist, insurrectionist attack on our Capitol. Nearly 200,000 Americans per day were being diagnosed with COVID-19, while 400,000 of our parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends had already perished from the disease in less than a year’s time. Despite promising to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of 2020, the previous White House vaccinated less than 3 million. Our standing in the world—on pressing issues such as the climate fight—and our relationship with our allies had been left severely diminished.
One hundred days later, President Biden has turned things around. As we fight to combat the covid crisis, this White House—thanks to the American Rescue Plan that the president fought to pass—has delivered an astonishing 218 million shots in arms and is working with our global allies to combat the pandemic worldwide. Checks for families, expanded unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance, and resources for small businesses have helped millions weather the pandemic—and we added more new jobs in the first two months of the Biden presidency than any administration in history. More child care centers and schools are opening every week, allowing families to safely send their children back to the classroom for in-person learning. President Biden prioritized strengthening the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to make coverage more affordable for millions and invested in home- and community-based care services for seniors and people with disabilities. And instead of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, the Biden White House enacted the expanded child tax credit to provide major financial relief for working families across the country.
This administration’s ambitious but achievable goals to combat climate change can get us to a 100 percent clean future, and the White House is making the investments necessary to guarantee clean air, a stable climate, safe drinking water, and protected lands and oceans for all Americans to enjoy. The Biden administration has also started to undo the massive amount of damage done by the previous administration to the immigration system, and we are heartened by the President’s commitment toward a fair, workable and humane immigration system, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. today, including the many frontline workers who have helped get us through the pandemic.
As monumental as these first 100 days have been, the road to recovery will be a long one, and there’s so much more to do as the United States builds back better. Among other challenges, we urgently need paid family and medical leave and child care to help bring more women back to the workplace and make long-overdue investments in caregiving, care workers, and the care economy; real action must also be taken to address systemic racism and racial justice, including endemic problems in policing in communities across the country.
To reach our highest economic potential; level the playing field; and ensure justice, fairness, and access to democracy for all, Congress must send to the president’s desk the American Jobs Plan, the American Families Plan, the For the People Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Equality Act, and the American Dream and Promise Act, among other important measures. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed many of these hugely popular measures. The U.S. Senate minority will now need to decide whether they will start to deliver real results by working cooperatively with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Senate majority, or continue a strategy of obstructing progress and dividing the American people.