President Biden’s first year in office fraught with struggles and successes

President Biden’s actions and broken promises have earned him one of the lowest ratings of a modern-day president


Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / TNS

President Joe Biden checks his watch while answering questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Bri Quast, Staff Writer

On Jan. 19, President Joe Biden held a press conference at the White House to acknowledge the successes and struggles of his first year. 

Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021, during an utmost challenging time for the country. As Biden enters his second term of presidency, he and many Americans have reflected on his progress so far. 

“If I made a mistake,” said Joe Biden in the conference, “I’m used to negotiating to get things done, and I’ve been, in the past, relatively successful at it in the United States Senate, even as Vice President. But I think that role as President is a different role.”

Coming into office, Biden promised to have 100 million Americans vaccinated in his first 100 days of presidency. He managed to do so, but healthcare officials argue that he put his focus on vaccinations over ensuring testing efficiency and accessibility.

Right from the start, the CDC, for lack of a better word, screwed up testing,” said University of Pennsylvania physician Dr. Ezekiel Emaue for CNN. “They got the testing kits wrong; they sent out the wrong kits. Then we finally built up an infrastructure, but it came simultaneously with the vaccine, and we thought the vaccine would solve the problem and we didn’t need to maintain that infrastructure.”

In March 2021, Biden was able to provide some relief for the financial stress COVID-19 brought onto Americans. He signed the 1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan, which allocated money for vaccination distribution, schools, and eligible citizens. He also introduced the American Jobs Plan, which would allocate money to fixing infrastructure and improving the economy.

Both plans bring relief to the country, however, Biden admitted that putting a large sum of money into the economy increased consumer prices. Inflation is now at its highest since 1990 and he has yet to come up with a solution to bring prices down. 

“Inflation is a global challenge, appearing in virtually every developed nation as it emerges from the pandemic economic slump,” said Biden. “America is fortunate that we have one of the fastest growing economies — thanks in part to the American Rescue Plan — which enables us to address price increases and maintain strong, sustainable economic growth. That is my goal, and I am focused on reaching it every day.”

Another promise Biden made while running for office was to end the separation and detention of immigrant families at the border. The number of minors in detention centers has gone down, however, Biden’s plan to offer legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants has been put on hold in Congress. This fails to overturn Trump’s policy of having immigrants wait in their home country while their cases are heard in the United States. More criticism arose after Biden used he Title 42 policy, which kicked 4,000 Haitians out of Texas due to the spread of COVID-19.

Further controversy arose when Biden decided to pull the United States out of a nearly-20 year long war with Afghanistan.

“Joe Biden is probably one of the worst presidents that we have had in a long time,” says senior Sawyer Shae, “Some of the things he has done have been disastrous. When he pulled out of Afghanistan, he couldn’t have done it worse. We left thousands of American allies there as well as billions of dollars in government property that had been seized. It was an embarrassment.” 

Biden saw the end of the war as a success, but in Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly regained control after millions of dollars and lives were spent in keeping them out. International aid for Afghanistan has gone down, collapsing basic health and educational services. Biden blamed former president Donald Trump for the Taliban’s quick ability to regain control.

“My predecessor, the former President, signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove US troops May 1, just months after I was inaugurated,” says Biden. “It included no requirement that the Taliban work out a cooperative government arrangement with the Afghan government. By the time I came into office, the Taliban was in its strongest military position since 2001.”

Several of Biden’s decisions and broken promises have fostered disappointment among Americans — even on the democrat side.

“Biden isn’t doing as much as he promised to do,” says senior Kristi Robertson. “He promised to run on a much more progressive platform, and he did for a while, but now all the stuff he ran on isn’t really being implemented. He talked about canceling student loans and creating universal health care, but we have yet to see that. I think he’s just not doing as much as he should.”

According to a CNN article, Biden is entering the second year of his term with one of the lowest approval ratings of a modern day president. Americans are left wondering if he and Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to have a comeback in their second term.