Biden begins “Build Back Better”

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Joe Biden raises his hand at his inauguration on Jan. 20. Biden is the 46th President of the U.S.

    Out of all the things that Joe Biden has done so far as president, one of the most widely reported things has been Biden’s cabinet picks. One of the reasons for that is because of how diverse these picks are, especially after the previous president.

    “I’ve seen a few and I can tell just the diversity of the cabinet,” Ray Parrish, APUSH teacher, said when asked about the diversity of Biden’s cabinet. “You know, let’s expand the cabinet to make it look like the actual ‘we that people’ in America, like a mirror.”

    Something that Biden has so far exceeded at, from nominating the first African American to be Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, to the first Native American cabinet secretary, Deb Haaland. But there is arguably a more important aspect when considering people for such important and powerful positions.

    “And then there’s the other side that just says, you know, we need people who are really competent,” Parrish said. “To just try and find someone who absolutely would be great at this job.”

    However, these concerns seem to be mostly unfounded, as Biden has not neglected to choose people who are going to be good for the country. Janet Yellen was the first woman to be Secretary of the Treasury but was also the first woman to have chaired the Federal Reserve before, and Miguel Cardona was Connecticut’s commissioner of education before becoming the Secretary of Education.

    “And there certainly seems to be more and more people now that are qualified, that you could say, they now are on a level here with what used to be just a bunch of white people,” Parrish said.

    Biden has done a good job of striking the balance between diversity and people who have the qualifications for the job. Whether or not this will be representative of the rest of his presidency remains to be seen.

    In addition to selecting cabinet members, Biden and his administration have begun working on several of his 100-day plan goals.  This 100-day plan is heavily policy-based, including ambitious plans for large-scale economic and environmental initiatives.  Racial justice, education, especially community college education, and health care also key points of these policies.  Biden has also focused on reversing policies by the Trump administration.

    Currently, Biden has used executive orders to reverse policies, signing an order on Jan. 20 to address the Trump administration policy that was designed to stop federal workplaces from conducting “divisive, anti-American propaganda” training that focused on race theory and white privilege.  However, many people find issues with the fact that Biden has used executive orders to change these policies.  

    “So far, Biden has signed more than 50 executive actions, 22 of which are direct reversals of Trump’s policies,” Christopher Hickey of CNN said.  

    Republican political consultant Alicia Preston believes this is a bi-partisan problem.

    “Presidents sign too many Executive Orders when Congress doesn’t do what they want or don’t do it quickly enough. With very few exceptions, I just don’t like Executive Orders and I never like them as a means to bypass Congress, regardless of the topic or president,” Preston said.  “He canceled the Keystone Pipeline project. This is a short-sighted, job-killing, pander to the environmental left. It won’t eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, it just means we have to get it somewhere else.”

    Executive Orders are not laws, the American Bar Association points out.  Because they do not require approval from Congress, they cannot be overturned by Congress.  

    However, Executive Orders in the first 100 days are not unique to the Biden administration.  Former President Donald Trump signed dozens of Executive Orders in his first days in office. 

    “Historians credit President Franklin D. Roosevelt with pioneering the 100-day concept as a measure of presidential success when he took office in 1933. Roosevelt faced daunting economic problems in 1933 and pushed his Cabinet to institute new programs quickly,” the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago said.  “The 100-day mark defines a time when a president’s leadership style seems new and his power and influence are often at an apex.”

    Although the rest of Biden’s four-year term is yet to come, his first 100 days show a president unafraid to make important decisions regarding U.S. policy.  It is yet to be seen the outcome of the methods taken to institute these policies.