1207 joe biden
Joe Biden. Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer

The First 100 Days in Office

The idea of measuring an American president by the accomplishments of his first 100 days in office goes back to 1933 and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's dash to staunch a banking crisis and pull America out of the Great Depression, according to npr.

In a July 24, 1933, fireside chat, he assessed the early months of his administration.

"I think that we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal," Roosevelt said.

He had signed a record 15 major pieces of legislation in those first 100 days. But it's not as simple as the legend would make it seem.

"Presidents since Roosevelt have been held up to a standard that not even Roosevelt achieved," said historian Patrick Maney, a professor at Boston College who has written books about Presidents Clinton and FDR.

So Maney is on something of a quixotic mission to set the record straight. The idea of Roosevelt coming into office with a big agenda and a compliant Congress is a myth, he says.

"Only two or, at most, three of those measures actually originated in the White House," Maney said of the 15 major pieces of legislation signed by Roosevelt. "Almost all the rest had originated in Congress and many — including federal relief for the unemployed, the Tennessee Valley Authority — had been up for debate for years."

Roosevelt, initially at least, opposed the creation of the FDIC. Now it is one of the enduring legacies of his first 100 days.

If Biden wins what would the first 100 days of his presidency look like?

If he succeeds in defeating Trump, the Democrat will have to urgently tackle the pandemic and rebuild global relationships.

If Joe Biden wins the 2020 US election against Donald Trump next week, the new president-elect will face enormous pressures to implement a laundry list of priorities on a range of issues from foreign policy to the climate crisis, reversing many of the stark changes implemented by his predecessor.

But Biden’s first and most pressing task for his first 100 days in the White House would be to roll out a new nationwide plan to fight the coronavirus crisis, which has claimed more than 220,000 lives in the US and infected millions – more than any other country in the world – as well as taking steps to fix the disastrous economic fallout, as reported by theguardian.

And, while the new president might be fresh from victory, the moderate Biden will also have to wrangle with his own side – a Democratic party with an increasingly influential liberal wing, hungry for major institutional changes to try to answer some of the most urgent questions over the country’s future.

“He basically has to do something historic,” said Saikat Chakrabarti, a Democratic activist and former chief of staff to the progressive New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “He’s being handed a depression, a pandemic, and he’s being elected on a mandate to actually solve this stuff and do something big.”

Biden has reversed his previous support for Hyde amendment—which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion procedures—Meaney said, and “basically signaled with that [announcement] that he was not going to do any pro-life stance in any way, shape, or form.”

“We can expect everything that happened during the Obama administration to happen again,” he said.

Biden has already signaled his intention to reinstitute Obama-era executive action which would remove conscience protections from religious organizations, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, requiring them to provide abortifacient drugs and sterilizations to their employees under health care plans.

Further predictions

Meaney also predicted that a Biden administration would almost immediately rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy. First implemented under the Regan administration, the policy prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for nongovernmental organizations abroad that perform abortions. The policy has been upheld by each subsequent Republican administration and overturned by each Democratic administration. The Trump administration expanded the policy to include other forms of foreign aid such as global health assistance.

Meaney said an administration’s stance on the Mexico City policy “sort of puts down a marker as to where they stand on the life issue.”

Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, told CNA that the reversal of the Mexico City policy would likely be rescinded as a ceremonial action on Biden’s first day in office, if he didn’t “wait for the Roe vs. Wade anniversary a week later.”

Meaney said that executive branch appointees will also have “a very broad, far-reaching effect on the orientation of the federal government on the general issue of abortion.”

There would likely be “a very strong litmus test” on candidates, Meaney said, to ensure that they are “in favor of abortion-on-demand.”

Meaney said that changes in presidentially-appointed personnel could “severely constrain the help that individuals could expect to receive on some of these conscience issues.”

McClusky said he would also anticipate executive action to block states from defunding Planned Parenthood, as well as loosening restrictions on the availability of chemical abortions within the first 100 days of an incoming Biden administration.

Meaney said other measures the Biden campaign has indicated its support for—like overturning the Hyde Amendment or codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law—would require the legislature, and would likely take more time to accomplish. But a President Biden “would likely signal his support for such measures quickly.”

McClusky also noted the possibility of an incoming Democratic majority in the Senate next year, coupled with a majority in the House. He said the Senate might - in line with proposals from some Democrats - move quickly to do away with the legislative filibuster, increasing the potential for legislative action on the issue of abortion.

“Once that’s gone, that means the Hyde amendment is gone, the Helms amendment [which also limits U.S. funding for abortion overseas], everything underneath it,” he said. “That is a real threat to pro-lifers.”

The Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden assailed Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during Thursday night’s final presidential debate, as the president attempted to reset a race that shows him trailing his opponent in opinion polls less than two weeks before election day.

To know more about it, check out the video by NBC NEWS below:

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