It has been 170 days since Biden took office — less than half a year into a 4 year presidency.

What has Biden accomplished in that time?  A lot.

Here are fifty of my favorites of his accomplishments:

1.  Biden gave us a reason to hope

The Case for Biden Optimism

Biden is a genius at separating politics from the culture wars. He’s been a genius at sidestepping the Trump circus, including the hullabaloo it arouses on the left. We have endured an age of affective polarization, when we didn’t disagree more, we just hated each other more. Under Biden, the emotional temperature will go down.

Biden has the right agenda, the redistribution of dignity. A politician can tell the people who have been left behind that he hears them, and that’s words. But Biden wants to present them with a $1,400 check they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, increase the child tax credit to $3,000 and create infrastructure jobs. That’s material proof that somebody in Washington understands what you are going through and is doing something real.

Will he be able to pass this sort of sweeping legislation? I have far from given up hope. Everyday, I read that Republicans will never go for these spending plans, and I always want to ask the writer: Have you noticed that Republicans have already voted for roughly $3 trillion in new spending over the last 10 months? Do not underestimate how divided and confused their party is right now. Do not underestimate how much Republicans trust Biden personally.

I was shocked by how moved I was by the Biden inaugural. We’ve been through an emotional hailstorm over four years. Suddenly the sky has cleared. It’s possible America may emerge from this trauma more transformed than we can imagine.

2.  Biden protected people from foreclosure and eviction in this awful time

Extend foreclosure and eviction moratoriums

Biden directed key agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to extend the current pause on federal evictions and foreclosures 

Biden extends eviction ban amid fears of ‘horrific crisis’

The Biden administration unveiled a raft of measures to prevent people who lost income during the pandemic from losing their homes on Thursday, including by extending nationwide eviction and foreclosure bans until July 31.

The White House and other federal agencies sprang into action amid growing concerns that state and local governments were not prepared to protect renters if the federal eviction ban expired next Wednesday. More than six million renter households are behind on rent, according to a recent survey by the Census Bureau.

3.  Biden extended the US Russia nuclear deal

U.S. extends New START nuclear treaty with Russia for 5 years

The United States and Russia have extended a crucial nuclear arms control treaty until 2026, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or New START is the last nuclear treaty between the two countries and was set to expire Feb. 5. Renewing the agreement was one of the first national security challenges facing President Joe Biden’s administration.

“Especially during times of tension, verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental-range nuclear weapons are vitally important,” Blinken said in a statement, noting that Russia has remained in compliance since 2010 when the treaty was signed.

Extending the treaty made “the world safer,” he said, adding that “unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us 

4.  Biden eliminated some student debt 

Yup.  Not enough yet.  BUT this is more than has ever been done (and he isn’t done yet)

Biden’s DOE just canceled $1.3 billion of student debt for 41,000 borrowers with disabilities — and ended a rule requiring 230,000 to submit paperwork to qualify

  • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona canceled student debt for 41,000 borrowers with disabilities.
  • He also removed the requirement to submit income documentation for over 230,000 borrowers.
  • Experts said these changes should have occurred years ago.

Freeze student debt collection

Biden is immediately directing the Education Department to continue to freeze monthly payments and interest on most federal student loans until “at least” Sept. 30.

Here’s everything Biden has done so far to address the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis

As one of his first actions in office, Biden extended the pause on student-loan payments through September, coupled with zero growth in interest, to ensure borrowers suffering financially would not have to worry about paying off their loans. Since then, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has cancelled student debt for borrowers with disabilities and borrowers defrauded by for-profit schools. He’s also started conducting reviews of student loan forgiveness programs that don’t work as they should.

He has also asked the Justice and Education Departments to review his authority to cancel student debt

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

The U.S. Department of Education has canceled approximately $3 billion in student loans since President Joe Biden entered office in January 2021. The agency first forgave $1 billion in March for 72,000 borrowers with approved fraud claims against colleges, universities and career schools. Another $500 million was forgiven in June for 18,000 loan holders under the same borrower defense rule. And $1.3 billion was also canceled in March for 41,000 borrowers with total and permanent disabilities.

5.  Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accords!

Rejoin the Paris climate accords

Biden signed an order to rejoin the Paris climate accords that President Trump exited last year, sending the United Nations a document that will make the U.S. party to the agreement in 30 days. The international pact aims to push all countries to slash their greenhouse gas emissions

6.  Biden revoked the Keystone XL pipeline permit

Revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and cancel other Trump administration energy rules

Biden revoked the presidential permit for the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline that would have transported fossil fuels from Canada across the United States — a project climate activists have protested for years. The order also directs federal agencies to start reversing and revising other Trump administration rules, including restoring protections and banning drilling in several national parks and national monuments and setting stricter emissions and fuel economy standards for vehicles.

7.  Biden got rid of the racist, nativist 1776 commission

Nix the 1776 Commission

Biden terminated the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, a project aimed at promoting a more conservative history curriculum in U.S. schools that existed for only a few months. The group released a report on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that contained several inaccuracies and paragraphs lifted from other published works. This executive order also directs all federal agencies to create an action plan within 200 days to “address unequal barriers to opportunity in agency policies and programs.” It also undoes the Trump administration’s policy that prohibited federal contractors and some grant recipients that conduct “any form of race or sex stereotyping,” including diversity training.

8.  Biden removed  Trump’s changes to the census giving more time and counting undocumented workers

Unwind Trump’s changes to the census

Biden signed an order revoking the Trump administration efforts to exclude undocumented immigration from the U.S. census, a change that would have weakened federal representation for diverse areas generally represented by Democrats. The order also ensures that census takers have enough time to obtain an accurate count of the population, reversing the Trump administration’s move to cut the work short.

9. Biden strengthened protections for dreamers

Strengthen legal protections for “Dreamers”

Biden directed the secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the attorney general, to take actions to shore up the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shielded hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. The Trump administration tried to abolish the program but was stopped by federal courts.

Biden meets with ‘Dreamers’ in the White House to push pathway to citizenship

President Joe Biden gathered a group of “Dreamers” at the White House on Friday for a discussion about the importance of the DACA program, which provides deportation relief to young people brought into the country as children.

The meeting underscored Biden’s efforts to prioritize more permanent forms of relief for “Dreamers,” including a pathway to citizenship for those already in the country. It comes as the fate of the DACA program rests, in part, with a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit that argues DACA is unconstitutional.

Biden offered each “Dreamer” the opportunity to ask him one question during the meeting. Astou Thiane, who was 7-years-old when she immigrated to the U.S. from Senegal, asked Biden to describe the country, a place where he spent a lot of time as vice president.

“When I was breaking down, he came and he had this moment where he put his forehead on my head and hugged me,” Astou said. “And so I think that I believe him, I think that he is going to do his work and to do his all to make sure that the folks who need to hear our stories can hear it so that they’re not just thinking this is a political issue.”

A White House readout of the meeting highlighted the president’s political goals and his support for a new pathway to citizenship.

10.  Biden stopped wall construction

Halt construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall

Biden declared an immediate termination of the national emergency declaration that the Trump administration used to divert federal funding to building the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and ordered a pause on its construction while the new administration reviews the funding and contracts.

Biden administration will return $2 billion to military projects that had been set aside for border wall construction

The Biden administration is returning more than $2 billion to military projects that had previously been set aside for the construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall, the White House Office of Management and Budget said Friday

11.  Biden abolished the Muslim ban

Abolish the “Muslim ban”

Biden got rid of the Trump administration’s ban on people from several majority Muslim countries entering the United States, a policy the new administration blasted as “rooted in religious animus and xenophobia.” The order also instructs the State Department to restart visa processing for the countries affected by the ban.

12.  Biden cracked down on big tech monopolies

Biden signed an executive order cracking down on big tech monopolies

President Biden on Friday will encourage federal agencies to crack down on the way major tech companies grow through mergers and gain a competitive advantage by leveraging reams of consumer data, as part of a larger executive order aimed at dispersing corporate consolidation throughout the economy.

The executive order includes several measures specifically targeting big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, people with knowledge of its contents said.

Mr. Biden has already put some vocal critics of Big Tech in leadership positions. In the White House, he appointed Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor and outspoken proponent of breaking up companies like Facebook, as a special adviser on competition. He named Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Khan has also called for the breakup of big tech companies and worked on a House antitrust investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

How New Biden Rules Could Make It Easier To Buy Hearing Aids Or Fix Your Phone

President Biden is set to unveil a new plan on Friday taking aim at powerful industries where a handful of players have so much market clout that they can drive up prices, depress wages and make it hard for small companies to break in.

His executive order on competition contains directives for a dozen government agencies to take 72 measures — some big, some small — to shake up key markets for consumers, workers, farmers and small businesses, White House officials told NPR. They spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of Biden’s announcement.

Biden also will create a new competition council at the White House to track progress on the 72 ideas and come up with new measures to add to the list.

That systematic approach should pay dividends, Furman said. He explained that a series of small and medium measures can add up to big changes.

For example, he said, hearing aids — an expensive market dominated by a few players — is one area ripe for competition. The Obama administration tried to make it possible to buy more types of hearing aids at pharmacies, just like reading glasses, rather than treating them like expensive medical devices.

“That won’t transform our economy,” Furman said, “but for a lot of people, that’ll save them thousands of dollars. And that’s the type of action you want to do over and over again.”

13.  Biden reinvested in cybersecurity

After big hack of U.S. government, Biden enlists ‘world class’ cybersecurity team

Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, drawing praise from former defense officials and investigators as the U.S. government works to recover from one of the biggest hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies.

“It is great to see the priority that the new administration is giving to cyber,” said Suzanne Spaulding, director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cybersecurity was demoted as a policy field under the Trump administration. It discontinued the Cybersecurity Coordinator position at the White House, shrunk the State Department’s cyber diplomacy wing, and fired federal cybersecurity leader Chris Krebs in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s Nov. 3 election defeat.

14.  Biden put in great leadership for the FCC and FTC

Biden selects Slaughter as acting chair of Federal Trade Commission, Rosenworcel as acting chair of Federal Communications Commission

President Biden on Thursday appointed Rebecca Kelly Slaughter as acting chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, a move that positions the Washington watchdog agency to take on a more aggressive role in policing Facebook, Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley.

Biden also designated Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as the acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission. Rosenworcel is a fervent supporter of net neutrality and has called on the FCC for years to put its muscle behind a massive effort to build out broadband to the country’s most unserved communities

The two appointments reflect the tectonic political shift underway in Washington as Democrats, newly in charge of the White House and Congress, prepare to roll back a slew of deregulatory actions implemented under President Donald Trump. Biden and his congressional counterparts over the past year have teased an ambitious digital agenda, promising to rein in Silicon Valley, rethink the legal protections afforded to tech giants and expand internet access nationwide.

15.  Biden worked hard to strengthen unions

Execute order designed to protect workers

It is focused on protecting federal workers and contractors, in part by restoring collective bargaining power and worker protections by revoking measures that President Donald Trump had signed. It also eliminates Schedule F, a class of worker that Trump had established that stripped many federal civil service employees of job protections.

It asks agencies to take a look at which federal employees are earning less than $15 per hour and come up with recommendations to get them above that wage.

Biden Ousts All 10 of Trump’s Union Busters From Powerful Labor Panel

On Tuesday, Joe Biden demanded the resignations of all 10 of Donald Trump’s appointees to the Federal Service Impasses Panel, a powerful labor relations board, in a major victory for federal unions. Eight members resigned, and two were fired after refusing to step down. Trump’s appointees—a group of partisan anti-labor activists—had hobbled federal unions for years, sabotaging their ability to organize and bargain collectively. Biden’s clean sweep, which was first reported by Government Executive’s Erich Wagner, marks a crucial step toward ending his predecessor’s campaign of federal union busting.

Biden’s support for unions if almost unprecedented

President Joe Biden made a historic statement in favor of workers’ right to organize and against employer intimidation of workers in a video released Sunday evening. “I made it clear when I was running, that my administration’s policy would be to support unions organizing and the right to collectively bargain,” he said. “I’m keeping that promise. You should all remember the National Labor Relations Act didn’t just say that unions are allowed to exist, it said that we should encourage unions.

“So let me be really clear: It’s not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union,” Biden continued. “But let me be even more clear: it’s not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers—full stop. Full stop.”

Biden’s video came days after a group of progressive organizations called on him to support the Amazon workers’ effort. Labor historians and worker advocates hailed the video as a major step beyond those Biden’s predecessors took.

It’s almost unprecedented in American history,” Erik Loomis, a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island, told The Washington Post. “We have the sense that previous presidents in the mid-20th century were overtly pro-union, but that really wasn’t the case. Even FDR never really came out and told workers directly to support a union.”

”We haven’t had this aggressive and positive of a statement from a president of the United States on behalf of workers in decades,” said Faiz Shakir, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign manager and the founder of More Perfect Union. “It is monumental that you have a president sending a message to workers across the country that if you take the courageous step to start to unionize you will have allies in the administration, the NLRB, and the Labor Department. It means a lot.”

16.  Biden fired toxic officials left over from Trump

Trump officials at labor board ousted by Biden after resisting removal

President Joe Biden is forcing out two Trump-era counsels from the National Labor Relations Board, the first time in more than 70 years a president has exercised that power over the agency.

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb, a Trump appointee, was fired Wednesday after refusing a request from Biden to step down from his post. On Thursday, Biden asked for the resignation of Robb’s replacement, Deputy General Counsel Alice Stock, by 5 p.m. or said she would be dismissed.

Robb’s dismissal — hailed by union officials and their Democratic allies, who blame him for what they say is a pro-management turn in the labor board — marked the first time a president has removed the top lawyer at the NLRB since Harry Truman did so in 1950.

Organized labor had long opposed Robb, who also previously served as a management-side attorney and is known for kicking off the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s case to decertify the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization following the 1981 strike.

Michael Ellis, a Trump appointee at the N.S.A. who was sworn in on Tuesday, has been placed on leave.

The Biden administration on Wednesday put Michael Ellis, a Trump loyalist who was sworn in on Tuesday as the top lawyer for the National Security Agency, on administrative leave, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Ellis’s last-minute appointment was ordered over the weekend by Christopher C. Miller, then the acting defense secretary, prompting Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for an inspector general investigation of his selection and request that the Pentagon stop his swearing-in.

17.  Biden beefed up the NSC

He helped Adam Schiff impeach Trump. Now he’s joining Biden’s NSC.

Adam Schiff’s top legal adviser is joining President Joe Biden’s National Security Council as its senior director for intelligence, a key role that serves as the day-to-day connective tissue between the intelligence community and the White House.

Maher Bitar, who has served as the general counsel for House Intelligence Committee Democrats since 2017 and played a key role during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, is set to begin in the new job in the coming days, said two people familiar with the move. His official title will be senior director for intelligence programs.

“I am thrilled to see him in his new post, though we will certainly miss him on the committee,” Schiff told POLITICO. Schiff described Bitar as a “superb choice” for the role, adding that he has an “extraordinary” breadth of talent and expertise when it comes to the intelligence community and understands the challenges it faces after being “battered” by Trump for four years. “I can’t think of anyone more suited to the role than Maher,” Schiff said.

18.  Biden called out white supremacy

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19.  Biden rejoined the WHO

Rejoin the World Health Organization

Biden canceled Trump’s move to withdraw the country from the World Health Organization and, in an early show of commitment to the global health body, sent infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci to speak at the WHO’s virtual board meeting Thursday morning.

20.  Biden unleashed the Fauci

Fauci, unchained

As of noon Wednesday, there is a new White House. And Fauci, speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, was clearly enjoying being unshackled.

“One of the new things in this administration is if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess,” he said with a chuckle. “Just say you don’t know the answer.”

A bit later, Fauci explained that his recommendations and thinking would be guided by the science, as it had been since the pandemic emerged. But here again, he drew a contrast with the prior administration.

“You’ve joked a couple of times today already about the difference that you feel in being kind of the spokesperson for this issue in this administration versus the previous one,” a reporter said. “Can you talk a little bit about how free, how much different do you feel? Less constrained?”

“You said I was joking about it. I was very serious about it,” Fauci replied, laughing. “I wasn’t joking.”

21. Biden got rid of burrowing

Biden To Toss Trump Plan That Would Have Made It Easier To Fire Top Civil Servants

President Biden plans to sign an order on Friday that will toss a plan that would have made it easier to fire top career civil servants and hire political appointees into high-ranking positions — a practice known as “burrowing.”

Former President Donald Trump’s plan to create the “Schedule F” category had been decried by federal unions as an attack on people he called the “deep state” when it was announced in October. The Biden White House was quick to cancel the classification, saying it “undermines the foundations of the civil service.”finally..

22.  Biden picked Jaime Harrison to lead the DNC

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23.  Biden halted oil and gas leases 

The Biden administration has suspended new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on U.S. lands and waters for 60 days as officials move to reverse the energy and environmental policies of the Trump administration

The suspension, part of a broad review of programs at the Department of Interior, went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega. It follows Democratic President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change.

Biden suspends oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic refuge

The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing a drilling program approved by the Trump administration and reviving a political fight over a remote region that is home to polar bears and other wildlife — and a rich reserve of oil.

Biden may hinder oil and gas drilling even after court loss

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has the power to stymie oil and gas development on government-controlled lands and waters, industry and environmental experts said, even though a court decision ended his freeze on federal drilling auctions.

Some options, they said, include offering sparse acreage or imposing more time-consuming permitting requirements.

24.  Biden affirmed his commitment to reproductive freedom

Biden released a statement on the anniversary of Roe V Wade that said in part:

In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack.  We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe.  We are also committed to ensuring that we work to eliminate maternal and infant health disparities, increase access to contraception, and support families economically so that all parents can raise their families with dignity.  This commitment extends to our critical work on health outcomes around the world.

Soon after he took office as president, Donald Trump reinstated and expanded a policy known by its critics as the “global gag rule,” which bars U.S. funding for organizations abroad that perform abortions or offer information about them.

On Thursday, a week into his term, President Biden signed a memorandum rescinding the policy. He also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to review a rule instated by Trump that cut off federal funding for domestic family planning programs involved with abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, and ordered the restoration of funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which Trump had cut in a dispute over abortion provisions.

25.  Biden brought ethics back the White House

Biden signed an executive order that:

requires executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in personal interest and requiring them to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice

26.  Biden ordered all federal contractors to pay their workers a $15 minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave.

Biden executive order takes steps to require federal contractors pay $15 minimum wage

Biden plans to sign an executive order that will expand protections for federal workers, including putting federal agencies on a path to require a $15 minimum wage for contractors.

27.  Biden is fighting domestic violent extremism 

Biden orders ‘comprehensive threat assessment’ of domestic violent extremism following Capitol riot

In the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, President Joe Biden is directing the intelligence community to assess the threat of domestic violent extremism in the U.S. and explore new policies to counter extremist networks.

A three-pronged effort, unveiled Friday by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, includes tasking the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with leading a “comprehensive threat assessment” to help shape policies to address the rise of domestic violent extremism. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will consult on the work.

Biden Steps Up Federal Efforts to Combat Domestic Extremism

The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat domestic extremism, increasing funding to prevent attacks, weighing strategies historically used against foreign terrorist groups and more openly warning the public about the threat.

The attempts to more assertively grapple with the potential for violence from white supremacists and militias are a shift from President Donald J. Trump’s pressure on federal agencies to divert resources to target the antifa movement and leftist groups despite the conclusion by law enforcement authorities that far-right and militia violence was a more serious threat.

White House Unveils Strategy to Combat Domestic Extremism

The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled a national strategy to combat domestic extremism, calling for aggressive steps such as hiring more intelligence analysts and screening government employees for ties to hate groups.

The 32-page plan highlights a shift in the government’s approach to counterterrorism, which for decades has prioritized fighting foreign terrorists. But violent attacks by American extremists are growing, a problem laid bare by the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

“We cannot ignore this threat or wish it away,” President Biden wrote in the strategy document. “Preventing domestic terrorism and reducing the factors that fuel it demand a multifaceted response across the federal government and beyond.”

28.  Biden began a new, great plan to fight the virus

 fighting the virus is #1 to Biden and to America.  And he is doing all he can to make this work

New strategy of the virus

In remarks in the White House State Dining Room, Biden outlined a new national strategy for combating the virus, signing 10 executive orders and other documents to streamline the federal government response, move toward reopening schools and businesses, ensure safer travel, and increase vaccinations, among other goals.

He called on Americans to “mask up” for the next 100 days, saying that doing so could save more than 50,000 lives. Biden’s tone was notably sober, contrasting not only with former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, which was often full of superlatives and grand promises, but also with the tone of other presidents on many occasions.

Biden criticized Trump’s vaccine rollout as “a dismal failure” and called his own goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses within 100 days “one of the greatest operational challenges our nation has ever undertaken.”

In his actions and remarks on Thursday, he authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to increase efforts to combat the pandemic and increase vaccine distribution. “This is a wartime undertaking,” Biden said, noting that more Americans have died of covid-19 than in all of World War II.

The president’s early moves are the culmination of months of planning. His team began laying the groundwork last April, hiring staff and drafting proposals with an eye toward the opening days of a Biden presidency.

Biden will use the Defense Production Act in his anti-coronavirus effort

President Joe Biden will use the Defense Production Act to boost production of vaccines, testing, and personnel equipment to help ensure the US will have enough vaccines, testing, and protective equipment to withstand the coronavirus pandemic.

The move, part of a slew of executive orders at the start of his administration, will specifically allow government agencies like the State and Defense Departments to use the law to get materials to make more vials, syringes, and more.

More vaccines

The Biden administration is taking a series of actions to boost the distribution of vaccines: FEMA will build vaccination centers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will launch a new federal pharmacy program, and states will have new “Covid Response Liaisons to foster more cooperation, similar to those used during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Set up a Covid office that reports directly to Biden

Biden created a White House Covid-19 response team, led by Jeff Zients, that will coordinate across the federal government and with states on ramping up vaccinations, distributing more masks and gloves, expanding testing capacity, reopening schools and more. This order also reestablishes the National Security Council’s directorate for global health security and biodefense — an office disbanded by the Trump administration.

Biden’s covid-19 strategy should be applauded. 

Less than 24 hours after taking office, President Biden has released a national strategy to combat covid-19. In firmly establishing the federal government’s leadership role in pandemic response, this action is a 180-degree reversal of the Trump administration’s approach of denial, deflection and capitulation.

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and it is working:

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and this:

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29. Biden is keeping his options open on the Supreme Court

Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court reform

The Biden administration is moving forward with the creation of a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary.

The idea for a commission came together amid the push by Republican senators to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in the weeks before the November election.

30.  Biden has already changed the way government is viewed

Biden’s Left Turn

 

In some ways, the Biden administration is edging toward something Democrats have been scared to do since the rise of Ronald Reagan: showcasing government as a salubrious force in regular people’s lives. Reagan built his regime on racist, sexist tropes about “welfare queens” sucking federal dollars from a white middle class and told Americans that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” For decades, Democrats ceded to those characterizations.

Biden, in contrast, regularly frames the federal government as the force that stemmed mass death and permitted economic survival through the pandemic: shots in arms, checks in bank accounts. He publicly centers equity — that government investment in housing, jobs, climate initiatives, and care work is good because it addresses racial and gender injustice — and gives speeches about employers needing to compete for workers by raising wages. Despite an unwilling Senate, he speaks with conviction about raising taxes on the wealthy, rather than bailing out banks. For the first time since 1993, Biden’s 2022 budget proposal did not include the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal insurance money to pay for abortions.

31.  Biden is reuniting families Trump tore apart

First lady Jill Biden expected to take active role in immigrant family reunification

The Biden administration’s planned task force aimed at reuniting children who were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump-era enforcement policies will include input from first lady Jill Biden, according to three sources familiar with the planning.

Biden is tasking her East Wing with taking an active role in the reunification project. Her interest in the task force could offer something of a stark contrast with former first lady Melania Trump.

The current first lady’s upcoming involvement in the issue and its targeted task force will lend visibility to the mission of reuniting children with their parents, which remains a crisis for many families.

Lawyers make progress in locating parents of children split from families at the border, latest court filing says

Lawyers are still trying to locate the parents of 506 children who had been split from their families at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration, according to a new court filing — down from a month ago, when attorneys were looking for the parents of 611 children.

Wednesday’s filing is the first under the Biden administration, which is now responsible for the reunification of families separated at the US-Mexico border as a result of former President Donald Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Biden administration will let migrant families separated under Trump reunite inside U.S.

The Biden administration’s task force for reuniting migrant families separated by the Trump administration will give separated families the option to be reunified in the U.S. or their countries of origin, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Monday.

Mayorkas said in a White House briefing that the separation of thousands of migrant families during the Trump administration was “the most powerful and heartbreaking example of the cruelty that preceded this administration.”

“We are hoping to reunite the families either here or in their country of origin. We hope to be in a position to give them the election, and if, in fact, they seek to reunite here in the United States, we will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States and to address the family needs,” he said.

32.  Biden has given Obamacare new life

 Biden to reopen ‘Obamacare’ markets for COVID-19 relief

Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Joe Biden plans to reopen the HealthCare.gov insurance markets for a special sign-up opportunity geared to people needing coverage in the coronavirus pandemic.

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Nearly one million people signed up for Obamacare coverage this spring.

Nearly one million Americans have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage during the first 10 weeks of a special open enrollment period the Biden administration began in February.

A total of 940,000 people enrolled in Obamacare coverage between Feb. 15 and April 30, new data released Thursday by Health and Human Services shows. Of those new enrollees, nearly half bought coverage last month, after Congress added billions in subsidies included in the most recent stimulus package.

With that additional funding, the average monthly premium that Healthcare.gov consumers paid fell to $86 for those signing up in April, down from $117 in February and March (before the new subsidies).

33.  Biden has focused on increasing racial equity

After a campaign full of questions, advancing racial equality has been a foundation of Biden’s presidency so far

one major thread running through his first weeks in office has been putting racial inequality and inequities front and center through his policies, his hires and his rhetoric.

A video that Biden’s team posted Tuesday marking his first two weeks in office highlights that the president signed four “racial equity” executive orders; noted his inauguration speech, which mentioned his desire to combat systemic racism; and featured some of the history-making members of his Cabinet, including Lloyd Austin, the first Black defense secretary.

He signed three executive orders intended to address economic conditions that keep people of color from experiencing many of the same American ideals as their White counterparts. The Biden administration pledged to work with Congress to pass legislation that would increase funding for minority-owned small businesses. And he signed an executive order that seeks to strengthen anti-discrimination policies in the area where most Americans build their wealth: homeownership.

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a national holiday

President Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill creating a federal holiday to commemorate Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in Texas. Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, most federal employees will get this Friday off.

Great nations don’t ignore the most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them,” Biden said in remarks in the East Room before a crowd that included lawmakers and 94-year-old Opal Lee, who campaigned to make the day a national holiday. The president, who spoke of efforts in some states to restrict voting rights, said the date doesn’t just celebrate the past but is a call for action.

34.  Biden is appointing a ton of great judges

Biden and Democrats prepare to act fast on judges, having learned lesson from Trump

it’s Biden’s turn, and so far his administration is signaling that judicial nominations will be a major priority and that Democrats may even tear pages from Trump’s playbook on the issue.
There are 60 current eligible vacancies and 20 vacancies that will occur down the road as judges have formally announced their intentions to retire, take senior status or resign, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts.
One other factor could be a game changer for Biden: the lingering possibility that 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer might choose to step aside this term or next and give Biden his first chance to name a Supreme Court justice.
Biden has vowed to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, and even before his inauguration his transition team sent a letter to Democratic senators seeking recommendations for district court vacancies that might arise.
There is also an effort afoot to speed up the confirmation process by no longer allowing the American Bar Association to vet judicial candidates before they are nominated.

Biden Is About to Undo Trump’s Judiciary Project

Biden’s first set of judicial nominations this week is the beginning of something big: almost certainly by the end of this Congress, the majority of lower court seats will be filled by Democratic appointees.

That may surprise you, considering the breathless coverage Donald Trump received for his four-year judicial confirmation blitz. 

the Republican grip on the lower courts is tenuous. Just one circuit court has to flip for Democrats to hold the majority of circuits again. Just nine seats have to flip for Democrats to hold the majority of seats again.

Securing those flips shouldn’t be too hard. Despite Trump’s torrid pace, he left some judicial seats empty, and more vacancies have been announced since Biden’s inauguration. At present, the federal judiciary has 97 current and future vacancies for seats with lifetime appointments. Fifty-two of those vacant seats were last held by Republicans,

Biden nominated as many minority women to be judges in four months as Trump had confirmed in four years

President Biden and the Democrat-led Senate have moved quickly to boost minority and female representation on the federal courts following Donald Trump’s four-year push to remake the judiciary, in which he nominated a large share of White, male justices.

Biden’s early judicial slate represents a departure from his recent predecessors; his initial picks are more diverse, and Biden rolled out more nominations earlier in his presidency than others.

Biden announces 5th wave of judicial nominees as Democrats aim to maintain quick pace of confirmations to federal bench

President Joe Biden announced eight new federal judicial nominations on Wednesday as the White House seeks to maintain its rapid pace of nominations — and confirmations — to the federal bench.

It’s a central priority for Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who has already shepherded seven judicial nominees through to confirmation, including two high-profile circuit court selections in recent weeks.
    That number is notable for its historical context: It puts Biden on the fastest pace for judicial confirmations in a first presidential term in more than 50 years. The last president to have seven confirmations by this point was Richard Nixon in 1969, according to a White House official.

    35.  Biden ushered in a great covid relief bill

    Democrats held strong on the COVID relief bill

    Many cynically expected (I expected!) Democrats to capitulate to Republican demands like they did while negotiating the 2009 health care bill when they eliminated the public option for no fucking reason. But they didn’t. Senator Chuck Schumer, emboldened by either the majority leader’s gavel or fear that he’s about to be primaried by somebody who New York voters find more appealing, has stood up to Mitch McConnell, stood up to bad faith negotiating by Republicans. What may have been an opportunity for Democrats to blame Republicans for watering down COVID relief became an opportunity for Democrats to show strength.

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     More than 1 million unionized workers who were poised to lose their pensions will now receive 100 percent of their promised retirement benefits for at least the next 30 years

    the $86 billion is a taxpayer bailout for about 185 union pension plans that are so close to collapse that without the rescue, more than a million retired truck drivers, retail clerks, builders and others could be forced to forgo retirement income.

    The bailout targets multiemployer pension plans, which bring groups of companies together with a union to provide guaranteed benefits. All told, about 1,400 of the plans cover about 10.7 million active and retired workers, often in fields like construction or entertainment where the workers move from job to job. As the work force ages, an alarming number of the plans are running out of money. The trend predated the pandemic and is a result of fading unions, serial bankruptcies and the misplaced hope that investment income would foot most of the bill so that employers and workers wouldn’t have to.

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    Relief bill was most significant legislation for Black farmers since Civil Rights Act, experts say

    A little-known element of President Biden’s massive stimulus relief package would pay billions of dollars to disadvantaged farmers — benefiting Black farmers in a way that some experts say no legislation has since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Of the $10.4 billion in the American Rescue Plan that will support agriculture, approximately half would go to disadvantaged farmers, according to estimates from the Farm Bureau, an industry organization. About a quarter of disadvantaged farmers are Black. The money would provide debt relief as well as grants, training, education and other forms of assistance aimed at acquiring land.

    “This is the most significant piece of legislation with respect to the arc of Black land ownership in this country,” said Tracy Lloyd McCurty, executive director of the Black Belt Justice Center, which provides legal representation to Black farmers.

    Black farmers in America have lost more than 12 million acres of farmland over the past century, mostly since the 1950s, a result of what agricultural experts and advocates for Black farmers say is a combination of systemic racism, biased government policy, and social and business practices that have denied African Americans equitable access to markets.

     The bill saved public schools

    Public schools are in rough shape after this year of increased costs and lower revenues.  This bill will help

    In line with Biden’s proposal, the bill calls for $130 billion toward school reopening, directing funds toward areas such as ventilation system upgrades, reduced class sizes, and personal protective equipment to help make schools safer, and ensures the money is directed toward public schools. Schools are required to put 20 percent of money toward learning loss, meaning efforts to make up for lost ground with students missing schoo

    The U.S. is distributing stimulus aid to victims of domestic abuse, who faced even greater hardship in the pandemic.

    The Biden administration has begun to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to support victims of domestic abuse, a group that faced greater hardships and more danger while sheltering at home during the pandemic.

    The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that it will award $200 million to help abuse victims get counseling, emergency and transitional housing and help with safety planning and other resources.

    36.  Biden has reigned in ICE

    New Biden rules for ICE point to fewer arrests and deportations, and a more restrained agency

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to issue new guidelines to agents this week that could sharply curb arrests and deportations, as the Biden administration attempts to assert more control over an agency afforded wide latitude under President Donald Trump, according to internal memos and emails obtained by The Washington Post.

    Cancel the Trump administration’s interior enforcement rule

    Biden revoked a Trump executive order that massively expanded immigration officials’ interior enforcement work and broadened the categories of who they should try to detain and deport. His acting DHS secretary then issued a memo pausing deportations for 100 days beginning on Jan. 22.

    ICE to avoid detaining pregnant, nursing and postpartum women

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will no longer detain most pregnant, nursing and postpartum women for deportation, reversing a Trump-era rule that permitted officials to jail thousands of immigrants in those circumstances, according to a new policy to be released Friday.

    ICE’s new policy is even more expansive than it was during the Obama era, when President Biden was vice president. The Obama administration generally exempted pregnant women from immigration detention, but the Biden administration is also including women who gave birth within the prior year and those who are nursing, which could last longer than a year.

    the president has said he wants a more humane approach to immigration, especially for parents and children arriving in increasing numbers from regions such as Central America.

    37.  Biden Revoked Trump’s Medicaid work rules

    Biden moving to withdraw Trump-approved Medicaid work rules

    The Biden administration on Friday will notify states it plans to revoke Medicaid work requirements, starting the process of dismantling one of the Trump administration’s signature health policies.

    The move is one of several steps that Biden’s health department is expected to take this week to unravel the contentious work rules long criticized by Democrats, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.

    38. Biden recommitted us to NATO

    Biden stresses U.S. commitment to NATO after four years of Trump railing against the alliance

    President Biden on Friday pledged that the United States is “fully committed” to NATO after four years of President Donald Trump railing against the alliance. During a major address to the Munich Security Conference, Biden also warned that “democratic progress is under assault” in many parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

    Biden And The EU Call A Truce In A 17-Year Trade Fight To Focus On Threats From China

    President Biden on Tuesday announced a truce in a long-running trade war with the European Union, saying it was time to put aside the fight and focus together on the growing trade threats posed by China.

    “I’ve been making the case that the U.S. and Europe — and democracies everywhere — are stronger when we work together to advance our shared values like fair competition and transparency. Today’s announcement demonstrates exactly how that can work in practice,” Biden said in a statement

    39.  Biden Scrapped Trump’s awful citizenship test

    Biden Is Planning To Scrap Trump’s Version Of The Citizenship Test That Critics Said Was More Confusing

    Department of Homeland Security officials are planning to scrap a Trump-era version of the civics test administered to would-be US citizens that was criticized as being harder and more complex than its predecessor, according to officials and government documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

    The plans come just two months after the Trump administration issued a new version of the civics test that all immigrants have two chances to pass in order to become citizens.

    40.  Biden supported LGBTQ+ Americans in numerous ways

    Biden calls for LGBTQ protections in Day 1 executive order

    On his first day in office, President Biden issued a sweeping executive order making it clear that gay and transgender people are protected against discrimination in schools, health care, the workplace and other realms of American life.

    Biden’s order calls on agencies across the federal government to review existing regulations and policies that prohibit sex discrimination, and to revise them as necessary to clarify that “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

    “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” Biden’s executive order states. “Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes. People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination.”

    The executive order set the stage for an administration that has pledged to pursue a “bold” agenda on LGBTQ issues and that has already named LGBTQ leaders to prominent positions in the administration.

    Biden issues first presidential proclamation on Trans Day of Visibility

    President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued the first presidential proclamation recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility.

    The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and bringing awareness to the discrimination and violence they face everyday.

    In his proclamation, Biden said Trans Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of activism by transgender and nonbinary people.

    Biden admin scraps Trump’s restrictions on transgender troops

    The Pentagon on Wednesday scrapped restrictions on transgender troops imposed by the Trump administration, and unveiled new rules designed to end discrimination and provide medical care for those service members.

    ‘We’ll remember’: Biden signs law designating Pulse nightclub site a national memorial

    A nightclub that was the site of a horrific shooting in Florida became a national memorial Friday.

    President Joe Biden signed a law designating the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as a national memorial at a White House ceremony that included survivors of the 2016 attack.

    “A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss. We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember,” Biden said before signing the law designating the memorial. Pulse survivors stood around the president as pictures of the 49 killed displayed on video screens.

    “May no president ever have to sign another monument like this,” Biden said.

    President Joe Biden to name Jessica Stern special envoy for LGBTQ rights

    President Joe Biden will name Jessica Stern as the US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Friday, according to a White House official.

    Stern currently serves as Executive Director of OutRight Action International, an organization aimed at ensuring human rights for LGBTQ people both domestically and abroad and will join Biden at the White House Friday for remarks commemorating Pride Month, the official told CNN Thursday.
    She’s the second person to be named to the role — her predecessor, Randy Berry, served in the then-new role from its inception in 2015 until 2017, at which point the position was left vacant by former President Donald Trump

    ‘Pride is back at the White House,’ Biden commemorates LGBTQ Pride Month

    President Biden on Friday commemorated LGBTQ+ Pride Month, signing legislation designating the National Pulse Memorial and urging passage of the Equality Act. “Pride Month represents so much,” Biden said at a White House gathering. “It stands for courage. … And above all, Pride month stands for love.”

    41.  Biden is supporting Democrats 

    Biden shifts his operation to DNC ahead of 2022 midterm elections

    President Biden has shifted the remnants of his campaign operation, including the donor and volunteer network that got him elected and several key staff members, over to the Democratic National Committee as part of a broader effort to build up the party before the 2022 midterm elections and a potential 2024 reelection campaign.

    The decision to house his operation at the national party, and to continue fundraising and organizing efforts there, is intended to signal his commitment to Democratic candidates at all levels, including members of the House and Senate who are supporting his legislative efforts, according to senior White House officials.

    Top advisers say Biden is not expected to create a committee for his own reelection until after the midterm elections next year. That means that the money he raises between now and then will go to broader party-building efforts and other candidates, a departure from the precedent-breaking approach taken by President Donald Trump, who filed paperwork to began fundraising for own his reelection on the day he took office in 2017.

    42.  Biden is being tough on Russia

    Biden Orders Sweeping Assessment of Russian Hacking

    President Biden ordered a sweeping review on Thursday of American intelligence about Russia’s role in a highly sophisticated hacking of government and corporate computer networks, along with what his spokeswoman called Moscow’s “reckless and adversarial actions” globally and against dissidents inside the country.

    Mr. Biden also instructed Ms. Haines on Thursday to provide him with an assessment of the Kremlin’s effort to use a chemical weapon against Russia’s leading opposition politician, Aleksei A. Navalny. Mr. Navalny, who survived the attack, was arrested this week when he returned to Russia.

    Ms. Haines was also asked to review intelligence that produced evidence that Russia put a “bounty” on the lives of American troops in Afghanistan.

    Biden readies his first major penalties on Russia

    The U.S. is preparing to respond to Russia’s poisoning and jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and is expected to coordinate a sanctions rollout with European allies in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The response would mark a break with the previous administration, which prepared a sanctions package following Navalny’s poisoning but never implemented it, the people said. It would also constitute the new administration’s first major step in holding Russia accountable for human rights abuses, which Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have listed as a key pillar of their foreign policy agenda.

    Biden makes good on his promise to punish Russia for the massive SolarWinds hack

    The Biden administration has officially blamed and sanctioned Russia for its role in the massive SolarWinds hack that compromised computer systems in multiple government agencies as well as private companies.

    In an executive order issued April 15, President Biden levied a variety of economic sanctions against several Russian financial institutions, technology companies, and individuals designated as having participated in “harmful foreign activities,” including but not limited to the hack.

    The biggest winner in the Biden-Putin summit: Democracy

    Putin offered a few compliments to President Biden — some that were intentional (e.g., that Biden is experienced in diplomacy), and others that were not (e.g., that Biden’s views on human rights are different than Biden’s predecessor). He also provided a glimpse into his gloomy worldview: “There is no happiness in life. There’s only a mirage on the horizon.”

    The contrast between Putin and Biden was on clear display during their individual news conferences. Even the settings of those events were remarkably distinct: Putin held his inside; Biden’s was outside, with bright sunshine and a picturesque background.

    Biden emphasized his defense of human rights and democracy. “I pointed out to [Putin], that’s why we are going to raise our concerns about cases, like Alexei Navalny. I made it clear to President Putin, and will continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights, because that’s what we are. That’s who we are,” he recounted. “No president of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values. . . . Human rights is going to always be on the table, I told him.” The president also warned that if Navalny died, the consequences for Russia would be devastating. When asked about Putin’s false equivalency between his jailing of a dissident and Jan. 6, Biden declared it a “ridiculous comparison.”

    What a difference a presidential election makes. Here was a sober, serious U.S. president defending democracy and standing firm against a thuggish dictator. 

    Biden wiped the smirk off Putin’s face

    At Helsinki in July 2018, then-President Trump simpered and cowered. In a low point of a presidency with more low points than Death Valley, Trump accepted at face value Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful” denials of complicity in the 2016 election attack. Putin emerged from that meeting smirking like the cat that swallowed the canary.

    As the historian Michael Beschloss noted, there was no such grin on Putin’s lips when he did his solo press conference after meeting with Biden on Wednesday. While Putin engaged in his usual dishonesty and whataboutism — he compared his jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny with the prosecution of the Capitol rioters — his manner was subdued and far from triumphant. He attacked the United States but was careful not to insult Biden personally. He even compared the current president favorably to his predecessor: “President Biden is an experienced statesman. He is very different from President Trump.” (Ouch. That’s got to sting for Putin’s biggest fanboy in the United States.)

    43.  Biden has changed the border to be more humane

    Texas family detention centers expected to transform into rapid-processing hubs

    The Biden administration is preparing to convert its immigrant family detention centers in South Texas into Ellis Island-style rapid-processing hubs that will screen migrant parents and children with a goal of releasing them into the United States within 72 hours, according to Department of Homeland Security draft plans obtained by The Washington Post.

    “We welcome the change, because the detention of families — we never thought that was a good system or a good policy at all,” said Edna Yang, co-executive director of American Gateways, an immigration legal aid organization in Texas. “They shouldn’t be detained, and they should be given the opportunity to go before the immigration judge and be released in the community and not held like prisoners.”

    Transforming family detention amounts to a wholesale repudiation of not only Donald Trump’s policies but also Barack Obama’s and presents a significantly different vision of how to handle the fast-changing character of mass migration at the southern border.

    Number of children held in Border Patrol facilities drops 84% since peak last month

    The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official, underscoring the significant progress made by the administration after reaching record high custody figure

    Biden administration grants protected status to thousands of Haitian migrants

    The Biden administration will grant a form of provisional residency known as temporary protected status to tens of thousands of Haitian migrants living in the United States without legal status, the Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday, citing worsening conditions in the Caribbean nation.

    Biden ‘greatly expands’ number of Central American children eligible to apply for asylum in U.S.

    The Biden administration said Tuesday that it will expand the number of Central American children eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. while still in their home countries.

    The program, known as the Central American Minors Program, began in 2014, during the Obama administration, to allow children whose parents were legally in the U.S. to apply for admission, but the Trump administration stopped it. The Biden administration had been accepting applications only from children with cases that were pending when the program closed.

    Now, the program will go beyond the Obama administration’s eligibility limits to consider children whose parents have asylum cases pending in the U.S., a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

    The statement said the new eligibility requirements will “greatly expand” the program.

    44.  Biden is making the presidency more accountable

    Biden to reinstate accountability measures stripped by Trump

    The Biden administration plans to reinstate government accountability measures that were stripped during the final days of the Trump administration.

    A source familiar with the plans told The Hill the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is preparing to revamp the good governance provision in the budgeting process that requires agencies to set goals and meet them in order to get funding.

    “This is about making sure we are making solid decisions that are not just based in political rhetoric alone — that there are numbers and data behind it,” the source said.

    45. Biden is improving gun control

    Biden acts on gun control

    President Biden on Thursday announced a series of executive actions to curb gun violence, and he pledged to push for sweeping change to the country’s firearms laws — his first substantive response to a pair of mass shootings last month that left 18 dead.

    The president unveiled new rules on “ghost guns” — firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track — among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.

    Biden said his moves Thursday do not relieve Congress of the responsibility to act. He urged lawmakers to take up gun-control legislation, including measures already passed by the House that would require more gun buyers to undergo background checks.

    “They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they’ve passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence,” Biden said. “Enough prayers. Time for some action.”

    46.  Biden has reduced the number of hungry Americans

    Biden Effort to Combat Hunger Marks ‘a Profound Change’

     With more than one in 10 households reporting that they lack enough to eat, the Biden administration is accelerating a vast campaign of hunger relief that will temporarily increase assistance by tens of billions of dollars and set the stage for what officials envision as lasting expansions of aid.

    The effort to rush more food assistance to more people is notable both for the scale of its ambition and the variety of its legislative and administrative actions. The campaign has increased food stamps by more than $1 billion a month, provided needy children a dollar a day for snacks, expanded a produce allowance for pregnant women and children, and authorized the largest children’s summer feeding program in history.

    “We haven’t seen an expansion of food assistance of this magnitude since the founding of the modern food stamp program in 1977,” said James P. Ziliak, an economist at the University of Kentucky who studies nutrition programs. “It’s a profound change.”

    President Biden to increase federal food benefits among executive actions aimed at stabilizing U.S. economy

    Biden is asking the Department of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — commonly known as food stamps — and to increase by 15 percent benefits awarded through a school meals program for low-income students started during the pandemic, according to Biden administration officials. That could give a family of three children more than $100 in extra benefits every two months, officials said.

    Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters on a call Thursday night that the measures are meant as only partial solutions, as the administration kicks off negotiations with Congress on its $1.9 trillion relief economic proposal.

    Biden’s order attempts in several ways to address the surge in hunger in America during the pandemic, with approximately 50 million people, including 17 million children, considered food insecure.

    Perhaps the most significant change in this executive order is a reassessment of the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, the basis for determining SNAP benefits. Lisa Davis, senior vice president of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, said the metrics are out of date with the economic realities most struggling households face. The president will ask the USDA to consider beginning the process of revising the Thrifty Food Plan to better reflect the modern cost of a healthy basic diet.

    Biden Quietly Preparing for Food Stamp Increase Without Congress

    The Biden administration is quietly laying the groundwork for a long-term increase in food aid for tens of millions of Americans, without going through the ordeal of a fight with congressional Republicans.

    The instrument is an obscure U.S. Department of Agriculture shopping list used to determine food stamp benefits, known as the market basket.

    A review of the so-called Thrifty Food Plan, ordered by Biden two days after he took office, could trigger an automatic increase in benefits as soon as Oct. 1, a day after expiration of a temporary 15% boost in food stamp payments that Biden included in his $1.9 trillion Covid-relief package.

    47.  Biden has strengthened the economy

    Economy grew by 1.6 percent in first quarter, showing signs of boom to come

    The U.S. economic recovery picked up speed, with the economy growing 1.6 percent in the first three months of the year because of rising coronavirus vaccinations and massive federal stimulus spending. The economy is on the verge of regaining all of its pandemic losses in coming months.

    The GDP report, released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Thursday, showed that consumers are spending more on things like cars and homes. Plus, a record boost in household after-tax income suggests there’s more consumer spending power waiting in the wings.

    Shopping And Shots Power An Economy Heading To Its Fastest Growth Since 1984

    The U.S. economy expanded at a rapid pace in the first three months of the year, setting the stage for what’s expected to be the strongest annual growth in nearly four decades.

    According to the Commerce Department, the economy grew at an annual rate of 6.4% between January and March as millions of Americans got vaccinated against COVID-19 and the federal government spent trillions of dollars to counteract the effects of the pandemic recession.

    Biden at 100 days: Hottest stock market since JFK

    The Biden bust that the Trump campaign warned of has morphed into a Biden boom.

    The S&P 500 is up 8.6% since the market close on January 20, the final day of the Trump presidency. That means President Joe Biden is on track for the strongest stock market performance during a new president’s first 100 days since John F. Kennedy in 1961, according to CFRA Research.
    The Biden rally squeaks past the 8.4% jump during the first 100 days of the Obama presidency and is well above the 5% increase in the months following former President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
    Presidents tend to get more credit — and more blame — than they deserve when it comes to the stock market’s performance. Still, the historic gains at the start of the Biden era add to a sense of optimism about America’s economic recovery from a once-in-a-century pandemic.

    The stock market closed out President Biden’s first 100 days in office on Thursday with its best start to a presidential term since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    The S&P 500 has risen 11% since Mr. Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The index recorded its strongest performance since the start of Mr. Roosevelt’s first term in 1933, when it surged 80% after a spectacular crash in the Great Depression, according to a Dow Jones Market Data analysis. By comparison, the S&P 500 rose 5.3% in the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term in early 2017 and on average has gained 3.2% over that period in presidential terms since Herbert Hoover’s in 1929.

    Jobless claims hit new pandemic low for third straight week, as labor market picks up

    Weekly jobless claims fell to a pandemic low for the third consecutive week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, with 553,000 Americans filing for initial unemployment benefits for the week that ended April 24.

    This marks a decrease of 13,000 compared with the previous week, putting the insured unemployment rate around 2.6 percent, the Labor Department said.

    While claims remain elevated, the trajectory signals that growing vaccination numbers, loosening business restrictions and warmer weather are helping to heal the jobs market. The streak of declining claims started in mid-April, with a surprise drop of more than 175,000. Now, economists say they think the trend will continue.

    U.S. economy adds 559,000 jobs in May, as the recovery shows signs of strength

    The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, the latest sign of a strengthening recovery as vaccinations rise and covid restrictions ease nationwide.

    The unemployment rate dropped slightly from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent, according to the monthly report, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Wages continued to rise, a reflection of what many employers say is a surprisingly tight jobs market, increasing an average of 15 cents per hour to $30.33, following an increase of 21 cents in April. In the food service sector, those gains have been particularly pronounced.

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    48.  Biden is fighting for voting rights

    Biden allies launch voting rights initiative

    An outside political group formed by allies of President Joe Biden is launching a voting rights initiative focused on strengthening pro-voter policies and protecting against suppression efforts.

    The nonprofit Building Back Together announced the project Wednesday, saying in a release that the group “will work to counter proposed changes to those laws that impede access, particularly for voters of color and historically disadvantaged and densely populated communities.”

    The group will focus first on a slew of battleground states, some of which have implemented laws that voting rights advocates say seek to prevent people from casting ballots. The states include Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

    49.  Biden is ending the “forever” wars

    Biden takes steps to rein in ‘forever wars’ in Afghanistan and Iraq

    President Biden this week quietly took another step toward fulfilling his campaign vow to “end the forever wars” America has been fighting since Sept.11, telling Congress he supports repealing 19-year-old legislation giving the green light to invade Iraq.

    The top general responsible for the Middle East, meanwhile, told Voice Of America the United States will not carry out air strikes to support Afghan forces after U.S. troops withdraw, but only to preempt plots to attack America or its close allies.

    Together, the two announcements amount to a retreat from so-called “forever wars” — giving up executive branch war-making authority on the one hand, intentionally narrowing America’s self-appointed military responsibilities on the other.

    50. Biden returned us to normalcy

    Thanks, President Biden, for returning radical normalcy to the White House

    President Biden has overseen the distribution of covid-19 vaccines faster than anyone could have anticipated, won approval of a massive $1.9 trillion pandemic relief program and rejoined the battle against the existential threat of climate change. But his biggest accomplishment has less to do with policy than psychology: After the insanity of the Donald Trump era, he has made almost everything less crazy.

    For four long years, we were forced to live in a constant state of anxiety that rarely dipped below the where’s-my-Xanax level. We went through multiple news cycles every day, as the morning’s outrageous presidential tweet was followed by the afternoon’s off-the-wall presidential claim — and then overtaken by the evening’s presidential recap of whatever he’d just seen on Fox News.

    It was brutalizing, and Biden ended the stream of lunacy pouring from the White House. There are days now when the administration is so radically normal that it’s actually kind of boring. Thank you, Mr. President, from a grateful nation

     

    Love that smiling Joe Biden!

    It will be nice to have a president who laughs again.

    Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders hugging at Feb. 2020 debate, with Amy Klobuchar smiling next to them

    Closeup of Obama standing next to a smiling Biden.

    On The Lighter Side

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    What can you do to save democracy?

    Most important: DON’T LOSE HOPE.  This is a giant and important fight for us but, win or lose, we keep fighting and voting and organizing and spreading truth and light.  We never give up.

    That is it for today.

    I’ll be away from my computer for the first part of the day but will check in later and read all your comments.

    I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with you ✊🏾✊🏻♥💙💚💛💜🧡✊🏽✊🏻

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