Political scholars weigh in on the highs and lows of President Biden’s first year in office

The Biden administration has had some accomplishments such as passing the American Rescue Plan and a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. But voting rights laws, a $15 federal minimum wage and more have not yet manifested through legislative means, as promised.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris wear masks while facing each other.

There was a lot of anticipation for the Biden presidency. For those tired of the Trump presidency, Biden offered a reprieve and the promise of a more stable democracy. The Biden administration has gotten some things done. It passed the American Rescue Plan, a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, put 100 million shots in 50 million arms in the first 100 days, temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit and re-entered the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement.

“I think the president oversold his capacity … to work in a bipartisan way with Republicans.” — E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist, university professor and think tank fellow

But there are many things the administration has yet to do. Voting rights laws, immigration reform, a $15 federal minimum wage, labor reform laws and a path away from financial debt and fossil fuel energy have not yet manifested through legislative means, as promised.

Listen: What the Biden Administration has accomplished — and what’s left to do — in the years ahead.



Wendy Schiller is a professor and chair of political science, and a professor of international and public affairs at Brown University. She says Biden entered office facing dual economic and health crises, which he’s helped abate. “I think he was very steadfast about it — didn’t panic, didn’t reverse course — [he] really just stuck with the plan of getting as many Americans vaccinated as possible,” says Schiller.

E.J. Dionne is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and university professor at Georgetown University. While Dionne admits Biden has had accomplishments, problems remain, including rising inflation, the continued pandemic and the persistent blockage of Biden’s signature bill. “I think the president oversold his capacity … to work in a bipartisan way with Republicans,” says Dionne.

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