200 million vaccine pictures, scorching markets, excessive bills – Biden's first 100 days on the charts
United States President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during the Democratic National Committee's "Back on Track" drive-in rally to celebrate the 100th President's Day at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia on April 29, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
In his first 100 days in office, President Joe Biden signed $ 1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief bill, put forward a multi-trillion dollar plan to overhaul the economy, and unilaterally reversed the course of many Guidelines of his predecessor.
Biden took the reins of former President Donald Trump amid the coronavirus pandemic and a cloud of national social and political unrest.
When he took office on January 20, Biden vowed to lead the nation through an unprecedented "winter of peril" and put it on a path to unity.
As he neared his 100th full day at work, Biden stated this week that America is "leading the world again."
Here's a look at what happened in Biden's first 100 days.
A cabinet that will look like America
Before he took office, Biden promised to build a multifaceted cabinet that would "look like America".
He's living up to that commitment, according to Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a president scholar and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracked Biden's candidates.
The Biden administration is ahead of its recent predecessors with a greater proportion of Senate-approved women and non-white candidates at the 100-day mark than former Presidents Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush at their 300-day mark, so Brookings' tracker.
The data was last updated on Wednesday and includes confirmations to the 15 departments in the succession line. Some departments such as US attorneys as well as military appointments are excluded.
The high-profile minority positions appointed to also reflect Biden's commitment to diversity, Tenpas said.
"It's not just that the numbers show he's appointed more women and non-whites, but he's putting them in positions they've never filled before," she said.
Biden's cabinet includes Lloyd Austin, the country's first Black Defense secretary; Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay person to hold a cabinet position; Home Secretary Deb Haaland, first Native American cabinet secretary; Janet Yellen, the first woman to head the finance department; and Xavier Becerra, the first Latin American secretary for health and human services.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Cabinet members and immigration officers in the State Dining Room in Washington, DC on March 24, 2021.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
In the past, according to Tenpas, women and minorities have often been appointed to less visible positions, such as the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, the Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Labor.
The first 100 days are usually a tentative look at administrative deadlines, according to Tenpas. A president's second 100-day period is often more productive in terms of Senate endorsement. This is another opportunity to examine Biden's promise of diversity.
200 million gunshots
Biden took office amid the height of the Covid crisis, when the country reported nearly 200,000 Covid cases and more than 3,000 deaths a day.
He set an original goal of 100 million vaccine shots given within 100 days and has been criticized for being too conservative. The White House hit that mark in 58 days and set a new target of 200 million shots, which was exceeded on day 92.
More than half of adults in the US have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and Prevention, and all are now eligible for vaccination.
But the pace of daily shots has dropped to an average of 2.6 million daily reported vaccinations in recent weeks, from a high of 3.4 million in mid-April.
Hottest market performance since the 1950s
Major stock market indices have risen sharply during Biden's tenure, with the S&P 500 outperforming a president dating back at least the 1950s and the Eisenhower administration in its first 100 days.
Supported by a record level of stimuli, the index has risen 25% since election day. This is part of an ongoing rally that began in late March 2020 after the coronavirus crash and has seen few signs of slowing since then.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 23.9% over the period, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is up 26.2%.
The Biden rally took a hit when it was announced on April 22 that the president was planning a capital gain tax hike for the rich, with the S&P 500 and Dow each closing nearly a full percentage point. Shares quickly made up for their losses, however, and the White House brushed off a question related to investor concerns about the tax proposal.
"I've been doing this long enough not to comment on movements in the stock market," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press conference on April 23, adding, "but I've actually seen that data rose again this morning. "
Under Biden, the market was somewhat volatile, at least in historical terms. The S&P 500 rose or fell 1% or more for the 31 days between election day and Biden's 100th day, compared to five days under Trump's initial period in the White House.
Big issues, positive reviews
Given the political moment it has entered, Biden's approval rating has been high so far. However, it is unclear whether his numbers will stay afloat as he and his party prepare for a series of important political battles that could determine the remainder of his presidency.
According to Gallup data, Biden's approval rating is 57% after 100 days, which makes him far more popular than Trump. But that doesn't say much: Trump's rating at the time was – 41% – 14 points lower than any other president in Gallup's history.
The president's Republican predecessor maintained historically low approval ratings during his tenure and never exceeded the 50% threshold, Gallup polls show.
Compared to other presidents, Biden's rating is less impressive. According to Gallup, he is the third lowest president since Dwight Eisenhower at the 100-day mark.
Americans tend to give Biden his worst marks for his dealings with China, arms, and immigration.
Still, it is noteworthy that Biden receives positive reviews at a time of extreme political polarization. Gallup's latest poll shows that Biden has only 11% approval from Republicans, but he has 58% approval from independents. At this point in Trump's presidency, only 37% of Independents gave him a thumbs up, Gallup shows.
Biden's approval appears to be largely driven by his government's decision to focus intensively on Covid from day one.
Americans still view the coronavirus as one of the country's most pressing issues, and multiple polls show that Biden gets top marks for his handling of the pandemic. Biden urged Congress to pass the $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief plan, which many more Americans support than oppose.
But there is also more appetite for the kind of government spending the government has proposed. For example, fifty-five percent of respondents in a recent NBC News poll said the government should do more to solve problems and meet people's needs, compared with 41 percent who said they are doing too much.
Even before the White House detailed Biden's latest spending plan – a $ 1.8 trillion package to support children, students and families – nearly two-thirds of respondents in a Monmouth University survey said they support the idea .
Experts say it makes sense that Biden's economic proposals – presented in their highest and most ambitious form – seem to resonate with Americans. But those plans will change drastically once lawmakers get their agenda under control, and it's unclear what Congress can get through.
Democrats have a slim majority in the House of Representatives and a wafer-thin advantage in the Senate. The Senate filibuster rules require 60 votes for many laws to pass, and the Democrats' ability to bypass this hurdle through budget voting can only be used sparingly.
Biden has repeatedly said he is looking for bipartisan input while stressing that inaction is not an option on his agenda. However, there is little evidence that Republicans will support Biden's plans in their current form.
In addition, some moderate to conservative Democrats such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are already expressing skepticism about the surge in spending.