President Joe Biden sat excitedly behind a desk at the White House where he signed into law the PACT Act, legislation that expands health care benefits for veterans who developed illnesses because of exposure to toxic substances at U.S. military bases.
“The PACT Act is the least we can do for the countless men and women, many of whom may be in this room, who suffered toxic exposure while serving their country,” Biden said. “This new law matters. It matters a lot.”
The president’s demonstrable excitement stands in contrast to the gloom and doom that has surrounded his administration for most of the year. That cloud over the White House hovered because of the upcoming 2022 midterms and the perception that Biden hasn’t accomplished enough to help Democrats retain control of Congress or boost his own reelection chances in 2024.
However, despite facing unrelenting criticism because of high gas prices, inflation and his low-approval rating, Biden has built a track record that has gone almost overlooked.
If he continues the string of success in getting his mandate through Congress, historians might revisit Biden’s presidency as one of the most consequential in American history.
Despite Republican leadership vowing to do all they can to stunt Biden’s agenda, the president has pushed through game-changing legislation like the PACT Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the American Rescue Plan and the CHIPS and Science Act.
Biden has displayed a steady hand in returning affordability to gas prices, succeeded in expanding NATO and monthly jobs reports continue to show increases.
He has also continued record-breaking funding of HBCUs, pushed through the confirmation of the first Black woman to join the U.S. Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and ushered through Congress historic gun legislation.
“You can say what you will, that Biden is too old, he’s not a deal maker, he’s sleepy Joe, or whatever but he’s getting things done even though he’s not getting the credit he deserves,” Stacey Rouse, a D.C.-based utility worker opined.
“It’s funny. When the other guy [Trump] was in office, you heard so much talk and bragging about what he’s doing and the media blanketed him with coverage,” Rouse said. “Now, you got the F.B.I. raiding Trump. He’s pleading the fifth at depositions and Biden is conducting business the way you would want your president to conduct himself. I think he’s accomplished so much but we don’t hear about it. I think 10 years or so from now, people will look back and realize what a good president this man is.”
Rouse’s colleague, Scott Anthony, agreed.
“I was a skeptic because that thing about sleepy Joe seemed true,” Anthony said. “But it seems other people are doing the sleeping because Biden is getting things done and he’s just not getting the credit.”
Upon signing the CHIPS and Science Act on August 10, Biden also looked toward the future and predicted what historians might determine.
“I honest to God believe that 50, 75, 100 years from now, when people look back on this week, they’ll know that we met the moment,” Biden declared.
An acronym for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors, the CHIPS Act provides $10 billion to invest in regional technology hubs across the country and a 25% investment tax credit for expenses for manufacturing of semiconductors and other equipment. The bill earmarks about $100 billion in spending over five years on scientific research and $80 billion for the National Science Foundation.
“Those early aspirations to being another Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, the ones that felt like so much hubris in the past few months, are being heard again in the halls of the West Wing and the Capitol,” Peter Baker wrote about Biden for the New York Times.
“House aides argue that the string of congressional victories – capped by the package of climate, health and tax provisions that finally cleared the Senate – compare favorably to the two-year legislative record of most any other modern president, even perhaps F.D.R. and L.B.J.,” Baker penned.
Politico noted that “Biden has never had a more productive stretch of his presidency” with wins stacking atop wins at a most opportune time.
“Already the victories have enlivened beleaguered supporters and injected new optimism across the West Wing,” Politico reported.
“President Biden has delivered on real, lasting change in less than two years in office. While achieving historic legislative victories that will protect our environment, create more jobs and protect our communities, he has also placed emphasis on delivering these outcomes with equity squarely in mind,” said Trey Baker, the White House Senior Advisor for Public Engagement.
“Black communities have seen historic funding for HBCUs, an increase in funding opportunities for Black owned businesses and a judiciary with more Black women circuit court judges than at any time in history,” Baker said. “Gas prices are dropping dramatically across the country and employment is up – which will only be buffered by the Inflation Reduction Act. The Biden-Harris Administration is getting things done for the American people.”