In just 200 days, President Biden has instituted a whirlwind of changes that have tangibly improved the lives of millions of Americans, giving the country hope in stark contrast to his predecessor. With the latest jobs report, more than 4 million jobs have been created during this tenure already, in no small part due to the American Rescue Plan and dramatic improvement in vaccination efforts.
U.S. consumer confidence reached a 17-month high in July, its highest levels since the pandemic started. The percentage of Americans who describe themselves as “thriving” reached 59.2% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement. The Biden administration has helped create this environment through its commitment to taking the pandemic seriously as well as a host of economic actions that has helped Americans get back on their feet. Economic growth is booming, jobs are at record numbers for any president’s first 200 days, and poverty is falling dramatically.
The Biden administration has taken significant measures to curb the pandemic. Cases are down, and the 7-day moving average of US COVID deaths is down from 3235 deaths when Biden took office (Jan 21) to 440 deaths on August 6, a decrease of nearly 87%. These differences were largely made possible by the Biden administration’s broad efforts to make the vaccine readily available to all through funding provided by the American Rescue Plan as well as vastly improved coordination between the Biden administration and state and local governments.
The American Rescue Plan also funded both stimulus checks and the Child Tax Credit, both of which are proving to be crucial for Americans across the country. A study of Census Bureau data in June showed that stimulus checks “significantly improved Americans’ ability to buy food and pay household bills and reduced anxiety and depression, with the largest benefits going to the poorest households and those with children. Among households with children, reports of food shortages fell 42 percent from January through April. A broader gauge of financial instability fell 43 percent. Among all households, frequent anxiety and depression fell by more than 20 percent.” [New York Times, 6/2/21]. Additionally, a report by Mastercard showed that U.S. retail sales jumped 11% in June compared to last year, a sign of optimism among American consumers.
But the differences don’t stop there. Over 2 million Americans have been able to sign up for cheaper health insurance after the Biden administration extended the enrollment window and provided ACA expanded subsidies under the American Rescue Plan, saving American families like the Shulers in Asheville, North Carolina up to $800 a month. Meanwhile, American parents are getting some much-needed breathing room after a hard year under the pandemic thanks to Biden’s Child Tax Credit. For example, “Ally Rykiel of Chico, CA, is receiving $550/mo for her 2 kids ages 5 & 11, and is spending it on school supplies, clothes & shoes they’ll need before school starts, and the CTC will help w/taekwondo classes & swimming lessons that had been a burden.” [HuffPost, 6/23/21]
See more examples of how the Biden administration has made lives better for Americans in his first 200 days below:
HUD ANNOUNCES $5 BILLION TO HOUSE PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS. [HUD, 5/17/21]
Multiple States have used ARP funds for homelessness relief:
FL: $6.5 million allocated to help the homeless in Pensacola [Wear TV, 7/1/21]
MD: Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces More Than $12.8 Million from American Rescue Plan Funding to Support Homeless Students. [Hoyer.House, 4/27/21]
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, provided over $28 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan to struggling restaurants and small businesses.
$250 million in American Rescue Plan funding allocated to advance transit projects across the country, [Spectrum 13 News, 6/11/21]
Biden administration is whittling away at backlog of student debt relief claims. “The latest approvals amount to a total of $55.6 million in relief. That follows the discharge of federal loans held by former ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges students in recent months, bringing the Biden administration’s total loan cancellation through the borrower defense statute to more than $1.5 billion for nearly 92,000 people.” [Washington Post, 7/8/21]
Canceled student debt for 41,000 borrowers with disabilities. [Insider, 3/30/21]
Protecting Workers, Farmers, and Small Businesses
No more high early termination fees from internet providers: The Biden administration issued a rule that would “Save Americans money on their internet bills by banning excessive early termination fees, requiring clear disclosure of plan costs to facilitate comparison shopping, and ending landlord exclusivity arrangements that stick tenants with only a single internet option.” [WH, 7/9/21]
“In others, the Labor Department is working to implement its own rules.These include the agency’s announcement last week that it had begun the process of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour and ensuring it will continue rising to keep pace with inflation. […] About 327,300 federal contract workers currently earn at least the federal contracting minimum wage of $10.95 an hour but less than $15 an hour, according to figures provided by the Labor Department. The federal minimum wage, which applies to private-sector workers in 20 states, has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.
Under the proposed rule, the $15 minimum wage would apply to new federal contracts, but not to ones currently in effect until they come up for renewal, extension or exercise of an option.” [Wall Street Journal, 07/27/2021]
Protect gig workers: The Biden administration blocked a Trump-era rule that would have helped some big companies like Uber and Lyft classify employees as independent contractors instead of employees. [Reuters, 5/5/21]
Biden takes aim at Big Tech, broadband with sweeping competition order. [Axios, 7/9/21]
Half the number of kids in poverty: The Child Tax Credit expansion is expected to cut child poverty in half. [Marketplace, 6/28/21]
Millions of IRS tax refunds: The IRS is sending out 4 million refunds this week to taxpayers who overpaid on their 2020 unemployment benefits. [CNBC, 7/13/21]
Helping small farmers: “Biden order to strengthen hand of small farmers in legal fights.” [The Hill, 7/18/21]
Millions more covered under the Affordable Care Act: More than 2 million Americans sign up for Affordable Care Act coverage under Biden’s special enrollment period. [CNN, 7/14/21]
NC: Asheville couple saving more than $800 per month through ACA health insurance. [ABC 13, 6/3/21]
Importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada: The Biden administration issued a rule that would “Lower prescription drug prices by supporting state and tribal programs that will import safe and cheaper drugs from Canada.” [WH, 7/9/21]
Cheaper generic prescription drugs: The Biden administration issued a rule that “Directs the Health and Human Services Administration (HHS) to increase support for generic and biosimilar drugs, which provide low-cost options for patients.” [WH, 7/9/21]
Hearing aids sold over the counter: The Biden administration issued a rule that would “Save Americans with hearing loss thousands of dollars by allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter at drug stores.” [WH, 7/9/21]
$3 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funding to Address Addiction, Mental Health Crisis. [HHS, 5/18/21]
Ending surprise medical bills: Under a new rule, patients would no longer receive surprise medical bills from emergency treatment care from out-of-network providers. [CNN, 7/1/21]
$398 Million in ARP Funds to Small Rural Hospitals for COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation. [HHS.Gov, 6/13/21]
Protecting trans rights: The government will now protect gay and transgender people from health care-based sex discrimination. Also, the State Department changed regulations to allow people to identify their own gender on travel documents for the first time. [AP, 5/10/21; The 19th, 6/30/21]
Restoring USPS service to pre-DeJoy levels: One year later, the Biden administration has helped the Postal Service increase its on-time rate to what it was before Postmaster Louis DeJoy took control of the agency during the pandemic. [GovExec, 7/9/21]