Many would have you believe that Joe Biden has been sitting in the Oval Office twiddling his thumbs for the past year. “He has done nothing,” people say. The media is not exactly touting his accomplishments either, but as we near year’s end, we should reflect on exactly how much President Biden has managed to accomplish with a very slight lead in the House and a tie in the Senate. While that, at first glance, should have been a positive lineup for the president, it has not been an easy ride.
President Biden has enjoyed extreme success with his judicial nominations. The New York Times reported that he has had more nominees confirmed in his first year than any president since Ronald Reagan. An additional ten of President Biden’s nominees for district court were confirmed before Congress broke for the holiday. The president pledged to counter the last administration’s focus on appointing young, right-wing, predominantly white males to the bench. That focus became clear when Biden nominated a Muslim American and an LGBT judge to the federal bench. President Biden is not only being hampered by Republican opposition, but there just are not enough vacancies in the appellate courts to make things right. Regardless, President Biden continues to fight for his nominees.
The roadblock to 41 of President Biden’s ambassador nominees was lifted by caving to Ted Cruz’s demand for a vote on sanctions against Russia relating to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which many believe gives Russia too much power over its European neighbors, and as reported by the Economist, threatens to isolate Ukraine. President Biden’s ambassador selections include Caroline Kennedy—who previously served as an ambassador in the Obama administration—who will serve as Ambassador to Australia, and former figure skater Michelle Kwan will be the first Asian American woman to serve as ambassador to Belize. Continuing to do as he promised, President Biden also looked at leveling the playing field inside the nation as well.
The $1.9 trillion pandemic aid not only provided direct payments to millions of Americans, but it reduced poverty rates with a $300 per child support payment. The impact of the child support payment is already being felt in multiple communities across the nation. Further, President Biden was able to push through a $1.2 trillion infrastructure law, which included bipartisan support, and while he had hoped to have an even greater impact on the country that will benefit millions of working families with his Build Back Better program, those hopes were dashed by Senator Joe Manchin. President Biden met with Manchin and thought he had his agreement, but Politico announced early Sunday that Manchin had pulled out. Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, was visibly angered by Machin’s appearance on Fox of all places, calling Manchin’s turnaround “a breach of his commitments to the president and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.” While Manchin is unlikely to change his stance, no one can say that Joe Biden has not honestly tried to keep his word to the American people. His efforts will continue after the first of the year.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years