by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Amid declining poll numbers and a stalled legislative agenda, President Joe Biden has urged a restart on his presidency as he enters his second year in office — and as Democrats’ electoral prospects hang in the balance.
“Our work’s not done,” Biden said during a White House news conference Wednesday, using the nearly two-hour question and answer session to tout his administration’s spending on bipartisan infrastructure and coronavirus relief, a drop in poverty, and his record number of federal judicial appointments.
“But there hasn’t been a whole lot of legislative progress since then,” said Matt Grossmann, the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, with Biden’s Democratic predecessors notching more wins at the one-year mark.
“If you stack up that legislative record, it is, so far, not as much as Barack Obama achieved in his initial time in office or as [Bill] Clinton and the Democratic Congress achieved in 1993,” Grossmann told the Washington Examiner. “It’s closer to Jimmy Carter in his first couple of years or John F. Kennedy in his.”
But Biden still has time to act, Grossmann said, with Obama passing in his second year the Affordable Care Act and the Wall Street reform legislation known as the Dodd-Frank Act. “So there’s time for more things to be achieved.”
The president’s rebuke to skeptics comes as his popularity with voters falls underwater, his disagreements with key Democratic senators over the mechanism to pass Democrats’ elections legislation take center stage, and his trillion-dollar social spending bill falters.
After notching several quick failures in the new year, including changes to the Senate filibuster and voting rights, Biden “is irreparably damaged, perhaps even fatally,” presidential historian Craig Shirley told the Washington Examiner. “It is Newton’s second law: An object in motion has a tendency to stay in motion, and Biden is in motion downward. He’s fallen, and he can’t get up.”