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इंडियन आवाज़     16 May 2022 06:11:55      انڈین آواز

US: JOE BIDEN ONE YEAR AS PRESIDENT A MIXED BAG

AMN / WEB DESK

On January 20, 2022 Joe Biden completed one year as President of the United States, and it has been a year filled with many ups and downs.

The President has had some legislative victories, signing a $1.9 trillion economic relief plan in March and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in November, but he and Democratic leaders are finding it hard to enact some of the bigger reforms on their agenda.

Outside of Congress, Biden has faced other setbacks. Afghanistan fell back into the hands of the Taliban after the United States withdrew its troops from the country. At home, America is dealing with its worst inflation in nearly 40 years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a constant throughout. From the start of his term, Biden has been pushing to get more Americans vaccinated. He met his goal of administering 100 million doses within his first 100 days in office, but despite his urging, nearly 40% of the population still isn’t fully vaccinated.

A Year in, Biden’s Legislative Agenda Is a Mixed Bag

During his first press conference of the year, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke candidly at the White House about the possibility of a Russian invasion in Ukraine.

On the eve of his first anniversary in office, Biden took questions for almost two hours, mostly on domestic concerns, including inflation that is dragging economic recovery, and confusion on the latest health protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It was his first news conference of 2022 and the ninth since he came into office.

Biden was defiant in the face of journalists grilling him on whether he overpromised on his campaign pledge to control the pandemic and rebuild the American economy.

“I didn’t overpromise. But I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen,” Biden said. “You’d have to acknowledge we’ve made enormous progress.”

Before the press conference, Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, released a statement lambasting Biden’s record.

“Since President Biden was sworn in a year ago, he’s presided over the worst inflation in four decades and record-breaking increases in crime, failed to shut down COVID or handle the crisis at the southern border, and ordered a calamitous and shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the statement said.
Biden pledged to continue to take steps to get the pandemic under control and acknowledged the frustration many Americans say they are feeling.

“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes. But we’re doing more now,” he said, outlining his administration’s efforts to make free COVID-19 tests more widely available.

Biden acknowledged that he might not be able to pass Build Back Better, his $1.9 trillion signature social safety net and climate change plan that is stuck in the Senate, in its current form.
“I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, come back and fight for the rest later,” he said.

Biden pointed to obstructionism from the Republican Party on why progress has been limited.
“I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done,” he said.

US Consumer Prices Jump 7%, Most in 40 Years
In his remarks before taking questions, Biden urged the U.S. Federal Reserve to take action to address inflation. Consumer prices jumped 7% in December compared with a year earlier, the highest inflation rate in 40 years. It has dampened economic recovery in a year that the administration says has shown the biggest job growth in American history.

Less than half of Americans approve of Biden, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll. The national poll, conducted January 12-13, found that 45% of U.S. adults approved of Biden’s performance in office. Biden’s approval numbers have hovered below 50% since August.

“Generally speaking, the mood in the country is tough,” Mallory Newall, vice president of public affairs at Ipsos, told VOA, pointing to recent polls that suggest Americans’ behavior of bunkering at home is translating into dissatisfaction into other areas.

“The collective mood is one of questioning and frustration,” Newall said. “And I think that does spill over into issues related to the economy, getting back to work, curbing inflation, dealing with other domestic policies.” This is particularly the case when getting a grip on the pandemic was the number one issue that Biden campaigned on, she added.

“My guess is he will move in — he has to do something,” Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He warned that such an invasion would be met with the harshest measures. “He has never seen sanctions like the ones I promise will be imposed if he moves,” Biden said.

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