During the last two years, things have been rough for Democrats, even if they held control of both chambers of Congress. For example, Biden was unable to approve every aspect of his social spending proposal; the enlarged child tax credit was not extended, and the president’s student debt relief program remains stuck in court with an uncertain future.
But despite all of this, Democrats were able to enact important pieces of legislation, and many of them even had bipartisan backing. We have to recognize that this is pretty impressive for such a short time. The main problem for the Democrats was that they oversold themselves, which led to underdelivering.
But if we look at their achievements as a whole, we can easily observe that they really did some things. Stay with us and read on to discover what Biden’s Democratic Party has done until now.
1. The first significant gun-control legislation in decades
Following the tragedies in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, which claimed the lives of 31 individuals, including 19 children and 12 adults, Joe Biden did something unprecedented in 30 years. He signed one of the biggest gun-control laws that was also passed by Congress. This bill is truly recognized as something historically significant, but gun control advocates wanted more.
This reform includes the following:
- Federal financing of $15 billion for mental health campaigns and school security improvements;
- Putting an end to the “boyfriend loophole” by prohibiting gun purchases for people convicted of domestic violence against unmarried intimate partners;
- Tougher background checks for buyers younger than 21;
- Funding will be provided to encourage states to enact “red flag” laws to seize guns from people regarded as a threat.
Biden stated right before signing the bill in June that even if the measure is not what everybody hoped for, it is still a bipartisan-supported regulation that will surely save lives in the future.
2. The American Rescue Plan in response to COVID-19
One of the main things that Biden did as president passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The goal of this plan was to keep the pandemic under control, and the way the White House intended to do that was by giving a $1,400 payment to Americans that were part of the low-to-medium income range. The money was enough to cover basic needs like groceries and rent.
Biden also extended a $300-per-week federal unemployment benefit to 9.7 million individuals who were unemployed at the time. He also temporarily enlarged the child tax credit program, lent $7.25 billion to small businesses, and helped state educational organizations by giving them $128 billion in grants.
He also collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to make vaccination possible throughout the country. The whole process was closely tracked, and it seems that everything went well.
Before being passed into law on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan bill was adopted by the Senate 50-49 and the House 220-211.
3. Support for Ukraine’s defense during the Russian invasion
It’s been more than a year since the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, invaded Ukraine. But since then, f and lawmakers from both parties have sent military, financial, and humanitarian support in order to help Ukraine. It seems that these efforts are not in vain because Putin’s army stopped advancing through the country despite its superior military capabilities.
Recently, the United States has sent a new wave of support, more precisely, over $44 billion, and put together with what the White House had provided before, during 2022, the total contribution of America exceeds $100 billion.
Regardless of how long the war lasts, the United States will remain one of Ukraine’s most important allies, Biden stated. He said that America will send additional support, such as a Patriot surface-to-air missile defense system and other additional aid that will be worth more than $2 billion.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy considers America a trustworthy ally and thinks that all of this money is not charity work but rather an investment that will sustain global security and democracy.
4. The CHIPS Act. Now we can fabricate semiconductors at home
The CHIPS and Science Act is extremely important because now there is no need to rely on chips manufactured in China. The act was passed in August 2022, and it allocated almost $53 billion in federal funding for manufacturing chips in the U.S.
By passing this bill, the White House intends to promote American semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing, and by doing so, it will become a leader in this industry. This technology is a staple in any field, from home appliances and automobiles to defense systems.
All modern electronics require semiconductors in order to function. And even if the US is a major player in this industry and produced $5 billion in 2020, in the same year our country imported more than double what it has produced, $12.5 billion in 2020.
Biden wants America to not rely anymore on other overseas manufacturers, and the passing of this act might help with that.
5. A bipartisan infrastructure bill
Infrastructure is essential, and because of this, Biden decided in November 2021 that it was time to repair the nation’s roads, railroads, and bridges. Also, another part of this bill wants to help rural communities by making high-speed internet accessible to them.
This infrastructure bill means a lot of money for upgrades that will help our community develop and grow. Some examples are:
- $65 billion for broadband internet;
- $55 billion for clean drinking water;
- $284 billion for transportation needs (this includes everything from roads and bridges to sustainable public transportation and airports).
The bill was a tremendous bipartisan accomplishment, made possible by the efforts of 32 Republicans who made an incredible effort and crossed the aisle to make sure the bill passed.
The Democratic president, Donald Trump, pushed conservatives to vote against the proposal, but prominent Republican leaders, like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Kentucky Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported it.
6. The Inflation Reduction Act
Soon after taking office, Biden sought to enact the Build Back Better Act, a major social expenditure plan totaling about $2 trillion. The Build Back Better Act was meant to make a big change and included many pledges Biden made during the 2020 presidential campaign. This means prekindergarten for everybody, paid family leave, $550 billion allocated to combating climate change, and significant healthcare reform.
After months of talks, the original piece of legislation returned under a new name: the Inflation Reduction Act. It took Biden a while – more than a year – to pass this act through Congress. Vice President Harris’ vote broke the Senate’s 50-50 party-line vote. It was comfortably approved by the House on a party-line vote of 220-207, with no Republican voting in favor.
The measure attempts to combat inflation by decreasing the government deficit, lowering the cost of particular prescription pharmaceuticals, and promoting the manufacturing of specific items.
Some other regulations that this act includes are:
- $80 billion for the IRS to employ more agents, improve its technology, audit the rich, and many other purposes;
- $369 billion that will be used in order to reduce greenhouse gases and also promote clean energy technologies;
- A $2,000 yearly cap on out-of-pocket prescription medication expenses for Medicare beneficiaries.
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