As US President Joe Biden gears up to run for another term in office, the American public prepares to look back on his term and judge whether his work in office thus far deserves their vote.
As of June 8, 2023, Biden has an approval rating of 40.9%. Approximately 900 days into his presidency, Biden’s 40.9% is slightly lower than President Trump’s approval rating of 41.6% and considerably lower than President Obama’s approval rating of 47.2%.
These numbers come on the heels of Biden’s April 25 announcement that he will seek a second term in office. Only 21 of the 45 Presidents before Biden have won a second term in office.
Biden’s tenure in office thus far has led to diminished support from the American public. Although Biden has passed several pieces of bipartisan legislation, several Americans have little confidence in Biden’s ability to continue to lead the country.
Legislation and Bipartisanship
The first, and perhaps most significant, piece of legislation that Biden passed came 50 days into his presidency in the form of the American Rescue Plan. This plan, which came in March of 2021, cost $1.9 trillion. The plan helped the economy recover from COVID’s devastating impact, helped families with rent and groceries by providing a $1,400 stimulus check to those who qualified, extended the suspension of evictions and foreclosures, and more.
While Biden has touted this plan as one of his biggest successes while in office, and 69% of people approved of it at the time of its signing, others are not so sure.
“We really didn’t need another stimulus. The economy was already growing rapidly,” said Michael Strain, a former financial advisor to Obama, who believes that the plan contributed to much of the inflation that has occurred since.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal was passed in November 2021 and added $550 billion of increased spending on the electrical, water infrastructure, internet access in low-income areas, and more. Although it had a large price tag, several Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham, voted for the bill.
Bipartisanship in American politics is a difficult thing to come by today, and that may be the most impressive thing about this deal. 13 Republicans from the House of Representatives voted for the deal despite both former President Trump’s urgings and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s urgings.
Biden promised at the beginning of his term to work with Republicans and Democrats alike and to try to combat the partisanship that he believed was present during Trump’s presidency. Biden has delivered, achieving many bipartisan successes including the Respect for Marriage Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. These actions align with his continued promise to foster a community in which both sides could work together to get more done.
“We’re often told that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together. But over these past two years, we proved the cynics and the naysayers wrong,” Biden said in his State of the Union Address in February.
Despite these victories, many Americans blame Biden for much of the country’s problems and don’t have confidence in his ability to make good decisions about the economy and foreign policy, or make wise decisions regarding immigration. According to Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans are not confident in Biden to make good economic decisions, 65% are not confident in his ability to shape good immigration policy, and 65% are not confident in his ability to deal effectively with China.
Biden will have to beat out several contenders from the Republican party to keep his office, including former President Trump, Florida Governor Ron Desantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence. Currently, Trump leads the field in early polls. At 80 years old, Biden is already the oldest person to ever serve as president. However, he believes he still has what it takes.
"The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer…Let’s finish the job.”
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