Quiet, calm – and going big: Biden's first 100 days


WASHINGTON (AFP) – The daily (hourly) White House melodrama of the Trump era is history, but there has been nothing quiet about Mr Joe Biden’s 100 days rush to transform the country he inherited.

Mr Biden will deliver a primetime address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday (April 28) – the eve of his first 100 days mark – with ambitions to be one of the most consequential presidents since Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression.

At 78, he was the oldest man ever to take the job.

And facing the deadliest reported Covid-19 outbreak in the world, a badly shaken economy, and toxic divisions in the wake of four years of Mr Donald Trump, the incoming Democrat had a mountain to climb.

But three months on, he has surprised many with his discipline, his hard negotiating edge, and above all hunger, as he puts it, to “go big”.

It’s a performance that according to the latest Pew poll wins Mr Biden a 59 per cent approval rating – well above anything Trump ever scored.

Going big, going now

Mr Biden vowed to “heal” America and with a Covid vaccine program that last week recorded its 200th million shot, he’s fulfilling the promise literally.

The US$1.9 trillion stimulus American Rescue Plan that Biden’s party rammed through Congress in March likewise injected money into every corner of the Covid-battered economy. A post-pandemic boom is widely expected.

Now Mr Biden’s pitching another splurge, a US$2 trillion-plus American Jobs Plan which would revamp US infrastructure in almost every way, from traditional roads and bridges to broadband internet and electric car development.

Next? That would be the American Families Plan, costing at least another US$1 trillion, to fund child care and education.

Republican politicians complain that Biden has unleashed an avalanche of socialism. However, polls show their voters are far more supportive of Biden, allowing him to claim he’s making good on promises to rule in a bipartisan fashion.

Global reach

Given a chance, Mr Biden would like to change the rest of