January 20, 2021 Day 1 of the Biden Presidency - History

January 20, 2021 Day 1 of the Biden Presidency - History

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President Joe Biden, joined by Dr. Jill Biden, Ashley Biden, Hunter Biden and their grandchildren, is sworn in as President of the United States by Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Joe Biden Assumes The American Presidency

Preaching unity to a polarized nation … but will his policies promote division?

Former U.S. senator and vice president Joe Biden took the oath of office shortly before 12:00 p.m. EDT this Wednesday, January 20, 2021 to become the United States of America’s 46th president – preaching unity and pledging to “end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.”

“So help me God,” Biden said in concluding the famous presidential promise, his right hand raised into the air and his left hand placed on a five-inch thick family Bible that was previously used to swear him in as vice president in 2009 and 2013 (and as a U.S. senator way back in 1973).

Upon completing the oath, the 78-year-old Biden became the oldest president in American history. In fact, on his first day in office the Scranton, Pennsylvania native was older than the late Ronald Reagan on his final day in office.

Reagan was previously the nation’s oldest chief executive, attaining the age of 77 when he left office in January 1989 (the year after Biden mounted his first bid for the presidency, ironically).

Despite his lengthy tenure in Washington, D.C. – 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice-president – Biden is among America’s least likely presidents. In fact, he was nearly knocked out of the Democratic presidential primary last February.

Readers will recall Biden departed early-voting New Hampshire with his formerly front-running presidential candidacy in tatters – finishing fifth in a crowded Democratic field. Prior to that, Biden finished in fourth place in early-voting Iowa.

Pundits wrote his candidacy off … although Democratic power-brokers rallied to his defense, believing him to be the candidate most likely to defeat GOP incumbent Donald Trump.

Which state wound up saving Biden’s proverbial bacon in the primary? South Carolina …

In fact, U.S. congressman Jim Clyburn bragged that former U.S. president George W. Bush praised him for his role in helping get Biden elected.

“George Bush said to me today, ‘you know, you’re the savior because if you had not nominated Joe Biden, we would not be having this transfer of power today,’” Clyburn told reporters on Wednesday. “He said to me, ‘Joe Biden was the only one who could have defeated the incumbent president.’”

Biden preached unity in his speech to a deeply polarized nation – one in which three swing states granted him his electoral college victory margin by a scant 42,921 combined votes (out of more than 158 million ballots cast nationwide).

Trump challenged these official results, alleging widespread voter fraud in multiple battleground states – however his attorneys never advanced an evidence-based narrative showing how specific fraudulent acts provided Biden with his winning margin.

Nevertheless, disputes over the conduct of the 2020 election led to a GOP effort to challenge the certification of Biden’s electoral college victory. During that process, a mob of mostly Trump supporters stormed the U.S. capitol building in Washington, D.C. – a violent melee which saw five people killed and dozens more injured.

Trump was impeached in the aftermath of the riot for allegedly inciting the mob to violence. Now, the U.S. Senate must determine whether to convict him – and potentially bar him from ever seeking the presidency again.

Against this dramatic and polarizing backdrop, Biden took the podium in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning to preach a message of national unity.

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words,” he said. “It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: Unity. Unity.”

Biden quoted 16th president Abraham Lincoln as saying he would put his “whole soul” into that task.

“My whole soul is in it,” he said. “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this – bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.”

Biden implored America to “start afresh” – specifically imploring those who did not support his candidacy to give him a chance to lead.

“Let’s begin to listen to one another again,” Biden said. “Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Policy doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

We concur with that assessment … although we will certainly wait and see whether Biden consistently practices what he preaches.

On the policy front, Biden is expected to begin his administration with a flurry of executive orders.

“There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face,” Biden wrote in his first presidential tweet. “That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.

One order will implement a nationwide “mask mandate” in federal buildings and on federal lands, while another will revive the office of “Global Health Security and Biodefense” within the White House. A third Covid-19-related executive order will put the United States back in the World Health Organization (WHO).

Biden will also extend federal eviction and foreclosure moratoriums through the end of March, while extending a “pause” on student loan repayments through the end of September.

Additionally, Biden plans on signing executive orders that will recommit America to the Paris climate agreements – while revoking permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. These are the first of what are expected to be “hundreds” of reversals of Trump-era environmental policies.

On the immigration front, Biden will restore travel and immigration into America from the nations of Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen – reversing the so-called “Muslim travel ban” adopted by Trump in 2017 (and expanded in 2020).

As previously reported, Biden will also stop construction on Trump’s border wall – and begin counting non-citizens in the U.S. Census.

Bigger ticket items – including his proposed $1.9 trillion “stimulus” – will require legislative approval. Also, we will be very interested in seeing how Biden – who campaigned as a “moderate” – works with the radical wing of his party, which is pushing to pack the U.S. supreme court, add seats to the U.S. Senate, defund the police, collect reparations for slavery, censor speech (and other liberties), open the border in perpetuity, further socialize medicine and impose all manner of anti-competitive policies on the nation’s economy.

Trump did not attend the inaugural, traveling instead to his home at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I will be watching, I will be listening,” the former president told reporters prior to departing the White House. “We will be back in some form.”


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President Biden, VP Harris sworn in on ‘a day in history and hope, of renewal and resolve’

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP) AP AP


WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, declaring that “democracy has prevailed.” He swore the oath of office to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inheriting a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.

Biden’s inauguration came at a time of national tumult and uncertainty, a ceremony of resilience as the hallowed American democratic rite unfurled at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago.

On a chilly Washington day dotted with snow flurries, a bipartisan trio of ex-presidents along with the elite of nation’s government gathered, ensuring the quadrennial ceremony persevered, even though it was encircled by security forces evocative of a war zone and devoid of crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Former President George W. Bush, from left, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for the Inauguration of Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/Pool Photo via AP) AP

“The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious and democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden said. “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day in history and hope, of renewal and resolve.”

And then he pivoted to challenges ahead, acknowledging the surging virus that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States. Biden looked out over a capital city dotted with empty storefronts that attest to the pandemic’s deep economic toll and where summer protests laid bare the nation’s renewed reckoning on racial injustice.

And he was not applauded by his predecessor.

Flouting tradition, Donald Trump departed Washington on Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration rather than accompany his successor to the Capitol. Though three other former presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — gathered to watch the ceremonial transfer of power, Trump, awaiting his second impeachment trial, instead flew to Florida after stoking grievance among his supporters with the lie that Biden’s win was illegitimate.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to speak to supporters prior to boarding Air Force One to head to Florida on January 20, 2021 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Trump, the first president in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor's inauguration, is expected to spend the final minutes of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (Photo by Pete Marovich - Pool/Getty Images) Getty Images

Biden, in his third run for the presidency, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. On his first day, Biden will take a series of executive actions — on the pandemic, climate, immigration and more — to undo the heart of Trump’s agenda at a moment with the bonds of the republic strained.

“Biden will face a series of urgent, burning crises like we have not seen before, and they all have to be solved at once. It is very hard to find a parallel in history,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “I think we have been through a near-death experience as a democracy. Americans who will watch the new president be sworn in are now acutely aware of how fragile our democracy is and how much it needs to be protected.”

Biden will come to office with a well of empathy and resolve born by personal tragedy as well as a depth of experience forged from more than four decades in Washington. At age 78, he was the oldest president inaugurated.

Senator Biden and First Presidential Run

In September of 1988, then Senator Joe Biden seen on the platform in Wilmington, Delaware. He was returning to work in the Senate having suffered an aneurysm, which was life threatening. 

Biden won reelection in 1978 and five times after that. Overall, he spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate, including eight years as chair of the Judiciary Committee and four years as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. Despite generally supporting civil rights, Biden opposed the forced busing of students to end de facto segregation. Later on, he presided over the contentious confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. (Bork was ultimately rejected by the Senate while Thomas was narrowly approved.) 

Biden also worked to preserve Delaware’s favorable corporate climate, legislated against domestic violence and crafted an anti-crime bill that provided for 100,000 more cops on the nation’s streets, banned assault weapons and mandated tougher penalties for drug dealers. Known for his foreign policy work, the well-traveled senator purportedly called Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic a war criminal to his face during a 1993 visit to Belgrade. Nearly a decade later, Biden voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq. Nonetheless, he eventually became a critic of the way George W. Bush’s administration handled the conflict.

Having raised a solid amount of campaign cash, Biden launched his first presidential bid in June 1987. On the campaign trail, he took to paraphrasing British Labour politician Neil Kinnock. Although he had appropriately credited Kinnock in prior speeches, he failed to do so during an appearance at the Iowa State Fair and even borrowed facts from Kinnock’s life, stating inaccurately, for example, that he was the first in his family to go to college and that his ancestors were coal miners. Soon after, reports surfaced that Biden had likewise allegedly lifted passages from Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, and he was caught on camera exaggerating his academic credentials. With his candidacy on the defensive, Biden withdrew that September to concentrate on the Bork hearings. He then collapsed the following February from a life-threatening brain aneurysm, underwent two surgeries and took a seven-month leave from the Senate.

Who came out on top after the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva?

Catholic public officials who oppose church teachings of the Catholic Church create confusion and disunity and should not present themselves for communion according to a poll released Tuesday by Catholic Vote, a national faith-based organization based in Wisconsin.

The survey has arrived at a pivotal time — just as President Biden is poised to visit the Vatican.

The new poll found that 83% of Catholics who regularly attend mass believe Catholic public officials who oppose essential church teachings create “confusion and disunity” among the churchgoers. It also revealed that 74% of Catholics say these public officials should not present themselves for communion — while 72% agreed that bishops should address such complex matters.

In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is set to consider the controversial question of whether Catholic politicians who support abortion and other substantive policies contrary to Catholic teaching should receive communion.

“Catholic politicians who advocate for policies considered ‘gravely immoral’ create confusion and discord among believers,” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, in a statement.

“Catholics’ concern about the flouting of Catholic social teaching by public leaders is less about politics and more about the integrity of the faith, along with reverence and respect due the Holy Eucharist,” Mr. Burch said.

The survey also found that 84% of the respondents agree that it is “hypocritical of any politician to campaign on their faith to get votes” and then advocate for policies contrary to their faith once they get in office.

“This polling data should bolster the confidence of Catholic bishops as they prepare to discuss how to recover an understanding of the beauty and richness of the sacrament — among all Catholics. The data is very clear: Bishops have an obligation to act,” Mr. Burch noted.

In addition, 87% of the poll respondents also believe Catholic bishops should defend the teachings of the Church, even if some Catholics might disagree with them on fundamental issues. Another 88% believe it is important for Catholic bishops to teach and lead others in matters of the faith, including those who are public officials and other people in influential or powerful positions.

The poll of 600 Catholic respondents was conducted June 1-8 and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

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How the Joe Biden presidency could impact your money

As you take a closer look at your financial footing amid the headwinds of a pandemic, it’s an excellent time to examine the possible impact of a Joe Biden presidency on money matters.

The balance of Congress has shifted following the Georgia runoffs, providing possible momentum for President Biden’s agenda.

A new COVID check, taxes, health care - it’s all on the line. Here’s how.


Look for another round of pandemic relief shortly after Biden’s inauguration, says Bernard Yaros Jr., an economist with Moody’s Analytics.

“In February, we expect that there’s going to be a COVID-specific relief package,” Yaros says. That measure will likely once again extend unemployment insurance benefits, with enough support for another round of checks issued to Americans, “whether it’s 2K or slightly lower,” he says.

Small businesses are likely to receive more grants and forgivable loans, as well.

“And we’re also thinking, you would probably get some additional funding for rental assistance,” Yaros adds.


With Democrats gaining two seats in the Senate from the Georgia runoffs, there is now a greater possibility of moving from “relief” to “stimulus” mode in late 2021.

“That’s because now that the Democrats have a simple majority in the Senate. They can pass changes to the tax code as well as implement changes in spending,” Yaros says.

Moody’s Analytics economists expect the Biden administration will dedicate increased funding for enhancements to “social safety nets,” possibly including:

- Expanding eligibility for Medicare.

- Retooling Obamacare into Bidencare.

- Rolling out paid sick leave protections.

- Offering universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds.

- Providing some kind of student debt forgiveness.

But on these initiatives, Democrats will “have to pick and choose,” Yaros says.

“Among the more moderate Democrats, they’re not going to want to increase the deficit too much. That’s obviously going to be a limiting factor,” he adds.

And while Vice President Kamala Harris holds the deciding vote in the event of a Senate tie, the 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans doesn’t constitute filibuster-proof power.

Higher taxes are expected to partially fund the widening of these social safety nets.

Yaros says Biden is likely to succeed in reversing Trump’s tax cuts, raising the corporate income tax rate to 28%, increasing the tax rate for taxable incomes of more than $400,000 and eliminating some tax breaks for those making more than $1 million.

But the tax hikes may be smaller than widely anticipated, says Michael Zezas, head of U.S. public policy research at Morgan Stanley.

“In a Senate where Democrats have the slimmest majority possible, any one Democratic senator effectively has a veto. And when it comes to taxes, we expect many of the Biden administration’s proposed taxes won’t pass muster with Democratic moderates,” Zezas says in an analysis.

“We estimate about $500 billion of tax increases are possible, obviously a smaller number than another potential COVID stimulus round, and also smaller than the $1 trillion-plus spending now in play for each of health care and infrastructure,” Zezas added.

Even if Biden can swing the tax hikes, they aren’t expected to kick in until 2024, Yaros says, “to make sure that there’s no fiscal drag, at all, on the economy in these next couple of years when we’re still digging ourselves out of the pandemic.”


Joe Biden also has some ideas to reshape employer-sponsored retirement plans.

One of those proposals is to equalize the tax benefit of contributing to a retirement plan so that “higher-income earners aren’t getting more of the benefit than the lower-income workers, that it’s standard across the board,” says Anne Tyler Hall, founder and principal of Hall Benefits Law.

For example, someone in a 37% tax bracket is able to deduct the full amount of a retirement plan contribution so $37 for every $100 pre-tax contribution. That’s a greater tax benefit than someone in a lower tax bracket, such as 20%, who would receive a $20 deduction for each $100 pre-tax contribution.

The idea proposed by the Biden administration is to offer a tax credit to low- and moderate-income workers, resulting in an equal tax benefit.

Democrats are also pushing for employers to make retirement saving easier for the U.S. workforce.

“Employers who don’t offer retirement plans would be required to allow employees to make contributions to individual retirement accounts, IRAs,” Hall says. “Contributions to the IRAs would come directly from paychecks.”

With the shift of balance in Congress, Hall says such changes may be more likely. Plus, “some of these provisions have bipartisan support,” she adds.



The Disease — Biden takes office exactly one year after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States on Jan. 20, 2020.

The virus is still raging out of control, killing thousands more people in the U.S. each day. A ccording to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University, 174,589 new confirmed cases were added yesterday alone, and 2,727 deaths. That brings the total U.S. death toll to more than 401,000.

The U.S. has so far done poorly at controlling the virus compared with other nations. In fact, it leads all other countries in the number of COVID-19 deaths. The U.S. has less than 4.3% of the world’s population but accounts for 19.5% of worldwide COVID-19 fatalities. Relative to size of population, the U.S. death rate from the disease is the 10th highest among the 237 countries tracked by the World Health Organization .

The Vaccines — Two very effective vaccines against the virus that causes COVID-19 were approved for emergency use in the U.S. about a month before Biden took office. Pfizer-BioNTech got its authorization Dec. 11 and Moderna’s came a week later on Dec. 18. Since then at least 13.6 million Americans have gotten one or more shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes 2 million who have received the full two-dose regimen required for maximum effectiveness.

But there’s a long way to go. So far only 4% of the population has received a first shot. Although experts are still studying the question, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimates that half the population needs to be vaccinated “before you start to see an impact” and 75% to 85% need to have the vaccine to achieve the sort of “herd immunity” that makes polio and measles the rarities they are today.

Biden has pledged to give another 100 million shots during his first 100 days. But even if that ambitious goal is achieved, it would still fall far short — as of the end of April — of the levels Fauci says are required to begin slowing the spread of the virus.

There were nearly 257 million U.S. residents aged 18 and over in the U.S. as of July 1, according to the most recent Census estimate. (No vaccine is yet authorized for children under 16.) Since two shots are required, the Biden goal would bring the total fully vaccinated to about 56 million or so, or possibly a few million more if Johnson & Johnson gets emergency authorization for its single-shot vaccine, which is still in phase 3 clinical trials.

Jobs and Unemployment

As Biden takes office the economy is struggling and job growth has stalled.

Employment — After losing 22.1 million jobs in March and April, the economy regained 12.1 million from May through November — but then lost 140,000 jobs in December.

T he number of Americans employed in December was 142 million, or 3 million fewer than when Donald Trump became president and 9.8 million below the pre-recession peak in February.

Unemployment — The unemployment rate stood at 6.7% last month — well above the historical norm of 5.6%, which is the median rate for all months since 1948.

The number of people officially listed as unemployed stood at 10.7 million in December, about where it was just over seven years earlier when the nation was recovering from the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

And the rate would be even higher but for the fact that 3.9 million people have stopped looking for work since February and are no longer part of the labor force. The unemployment rate is the percentage of those adults in the labor force who have looked for work in the previous four weeks.

That exodus pushed the labor force participation rate down to 61.5% in December, which is 1.3 percentage points lower than it had been when Trump took over from President Barack Obama. That rate is the portion of the entire civilian population age 16 and older that is either employed or currently looking for work in the last four weeks .

Economic Growth

Biden inherits an economy not yet fully recovered from the deep recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before the recession, growth was relatively modest — real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product forecast, issued Dec. 16, was for a 2.4% decline relative to 2019, with estimates ranging from minus 1.0% to minus 3.3%. The more than 60 private sector economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal this month put the 2020 decline on average at 2.5%.

Most (73%) of the 48 economic forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said they believe the economy won’t recover to pre-COVID-19 levels until the second half of 2021.


Biden takes office with murder rates soaring across the nation, in cities, small towns and rural areas alike.

The number of homicides in the U.S. went down 0.7% in 2017 and 5.3% in 2018, then increased 0.3% in 2019 and began to surge early last year.

The FBI announced Sept. 15 that a preliminary report showed a 14.8% increase in the number of homicides during the first six months of last year, compared with the same period the year before.

That murder spike worsened as the year wore on. On Dec. 15, the FBI published, without any press release or news conference, preliminary figures for the first nine months of the year, showing a 20.9% increase in homicides nationwide, compared with the same period in 2019.

The wave of killing swept over cities large and small. Homicides went up 29.3% in cities with 1 million or more in population, 31.1% in cities of under 10,000 and 9.5% in metropolitan counties.

The FBI’s nationwide report for all of 2020 won’t be available for months. However, New Orleans-based data analyst Jeff Asher reports a nearly 36% increase in the number of homicides last year in 58 major cities that publish their crime statistics.

Wages and Inflation

Biden enters office with inflation under control and the buying power of the average weekly paycheck rising.

CPI — The Consumer Price Index rose 1.3% during the 12 months ending in December, continuing a long period of low inflation.

Last year’s figure was held down by a plunge in gasoline prices and the pandemic-triggered economic recession. But CPI rose only 2.3% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2018. The average yearly increase over the past decade is 1.7%.

Wages — For those who still get them, p aychecks are growing faster than prices.

The average weekly earnings of all private-sector workers, in “real” (inflation-adjusted) terms, rose 4.7% during the 12 months ending in December — at least for those lucky enough to still be working.

The size of that sharp rise is to some degree a statistical fluke. The 2020 pandemic hit workers in low-wage industries harder than others, pulling up the overall average.

But real wage gains generally have been increasing since hitting a low point in July 2008 at the worst of the Great Recession. They rose 1.2% in 2017, 1.4% in 2018 and inched up 0.1% in 2019, for example.

Poverty — The poverty rate that Biden inherits can’t yet be pinned down. The pandemic recession hurt low-income people more than others, but massive federal aid also was concentrated on offsetting that impact to some extent. The Census Bureau won’t even collect 2020 income and poverty figures until later this year and normally releases them in September, so we’ll have to wait.

Even then the picture may remain clouded. The 2019 statistics were distorted by the pandemic, which hit just as Census survey-takers were trying to collect data. More people than usual failed to respond, and Census researchers later figured that low-income people failed to answer the survey more often than others, pushing up reported income figures and pushing down the number thought to be in poverty. Census researchers wrote that for 2019, “we estimate a poverty rate of 11.1 percent” of the population, or about 36 million people.

Debt and Deficits

Biden inherits the biggest federal debt since World War II, and a treasury hemorrhaging trillions more in each year.

Debt — The amount the federal government has borrowed from the public stood at over $21.6 trillion at last report on Jan. 15. That’s more than 50% higher than it was only four years ago, and growing fast.

The size of the debt in dollars is easily highest in history. It’s also pushing toward a record level when measured against the size of the economy.

The debt at the end of the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, stood at 100.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to the 2021 Economic Report of the President, just released Jan. 15. Debt has only been higher than that twice in history, in 1945 (103.9% of GDP) and 1946 (106.1%).

Deficit — Federal spending outpaced revenues by a record $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. In the current fiscal year the deficit is on a course to hit $2.3 trillion even before Biden has signed a single bill.

Biden plans to make that even larger, saying he will seek a $1.9 trillion package to fight the pandemic and its economic effects. He may not get all of that. His party controls both the House and Senate only by slender margins.


The Wall — On his way to Texas on Jan. 12, Trump boasted that his administration had fulfilled his signature 2016 campaign promise and “completed the wall” on the southern border. Once at the border, Trump said he had given Customs and Border Protection �% of what you wanted.” As we wrote, none of that is accurate.

But the border barrier is still significantly more robust than when Trump took office. In total, 453 miles of “border wall system” was constructed during the Trump administration, according to a CBP status report on Jan. 8. Most of that, 373 miles of it, is replacement for primary or secondary fencing that was dilapidated or of outdated design. In addition, 47 miles of new primary wall and 33 miles of secondary wall have been built in locations where there were no barriers before.

Since the land border itself is 1,954 miles long, according to the US-Mexico International Boundary and Water Commission, the new fencing constructed by Trump covers just over 20% of the southwest border. Together with what existed before Trump took office, there are now about 701 miles of barriers along the southwest border, about 36% of the total border.

Biden inherits funding in place to construct another 234 miles of barriers where none existed before, though the new president has said he does not plan to build any more wall.

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ estimates reviewed by the Washington Post, there will be about $3.3 billion in unused border barrier funding when Biden takes office. If Biden immediately stops construction as promised, it would cost the U.S. about $700 million to terminate those contracts, saving the U.S. government about $2.6 billion.

Apprehensions — In his speech from the border in Texas on Jan. 12, Trump said illegal crossings have “absolutely plummeted” due to his wall construction.

Border apprehensions spiked in fiscal year 2019, and then fell by about half in fiscal 2020, which ended on Sept. 30. It is impossible to tease out how much of that drop may be as a result of the new barriers constructed under Trump, but a Pew Research Center report documenting the decline attributed it mostly to a worldwide decrease in the movement of migrants due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and governments fully or partially closing their borders as a result.

But apprehensions/expulsions have crept back up in recent months, and so Biden inherits monthly apprehension levels that are higher than what Trump inherited. Southwest border apprehensions and expulsions for October, November and December, the first three months of fiscal year 2021, are higher than the three months before Trump took office.

Political Polarization

Biden, who has promised to reach out to Republicans in an effort to bring the country together, takes office amid a time of significant political polarization.

Most recently, a CNN/SSRS poll released Jan. 17, but conducted between Jan. 9 and 14, shows that 75% of Republicans don’t believe Biden’s election win was legitimate, compared with 1% of Democrats and 31% of independents and others who feel the same way. Just 19% of Republicans polled said Biden won legitimately, compared with 99% of Democrats and 66% of others, including independents.

Also, studies show that the tendency of Democrats and Republicans to dislike and distrust members of the other party has been rising for decades.

As of September 2019, for example, a Pew Research Center survey revealed that the share of Republicans who gave Democrats a “cold” rating, 0-49 on a “feeling thermometer” scale, was up to 83%, 25 percentage points higher than the 58% who did so in December 2016 — not long before Trump was inaugurated . Similarly, the share of Democrats who gave Republicans the same rating had increased to 79%, up from 56% nearly three years earlier.

Furthermore, the same survey found that 77% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats said that voters in both parties “not only disagree over plans and policies, but also cannot agree on the basic facts.” Almost half of both parties (53% of Republicans and 45% of Democrats) said the other has almost no good ideas. And when putting politics aside , 61% of Republicans and 54% of Democrats still said members of the opposing party don’t share their same values and goals.

But there was perhaps at least one positive from a Pew preelection survey in October last year: “Majorities of both Trump (86%) and Biden (89%) supporters say that their preferred candidate, if elected, should focus on addressing the needs of all Americans, ‘even if it means disappointing some of his supporters.’”

Editor’s Note: We usually produce a quarterly report called “Trump’s Numbers” in January. But the books aren’t closed on the Trump presidency just yet, so we will do a final accounting later this year. does not accept advertising. We rely on grants and individual donations from people like you. Please consider a donation. Credit card donations may be made through our “Donate” page. If you prefer to give by check, send to:, Annenberg Public Policy Center, 202 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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Educators applaud Biden’s historic slate of judicial nominees
Biden announced his plan to nominate the first Muslim-American federal judge in U.S. history, the first Asian-American Pacific Islander woman to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the first woman of color to ever serve as a federal judge for Maryland district.

Adam Schultz

Biden’s job plan will help ensure good-paying jobs by rebuilding health-hazardous schools and continuing to bridge our digital divide.
The historic American Jobs Plan provides vital resources to help our schools to recover safely and equitably from the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s proposal calls for $100 billion for K12 school modernization and $12 billion for community college infrastructure.

Adam Schultz

Biden says he will curb gun violence
Focusing on actions such as increasing red flag laws and regulations on ghost guns, Biden responded to mass shootings across the country.

Biden announces budget proposal of $20 billion for education
Dedicated to students in under-resourced schools and communities, Biden’s investment in Title I funding is a continued commitment to building a better America for all. He also proposed additional dollars to aid special education, full-service community schools, school counselors, affordable housing and healthcare while extending Pell Grants to DREAMers.

Adam Schultz

Biden calls for passage of George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
Following the guilty verdict of the police officer who murdered George Floyd last year, Biden called for “real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen.”

Biden proposed the American Families Plan
Including free community college and funding for childcare, Biden’s plan is part of his push to reshape the economy in the wake of the pandemic.

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Biden’s First Day as President Includes People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., January 20 – After unprecedented outreach to the disability community during the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden and his team are continuing to include people with disabilities as they take office this afternoon.

One of Biden’s day one executive actions is to “Launch a Whole-of-Government Initiative to Advance Racial Equity.” According to the team, “The president-elect’s equity agenda is grounded in advancing racial justice and building back better for communities who have been underserved, including people of color and Americans with disabilities, LGBTQ+ Americans, religious minorities, and rural and urban communities facing persistent poverty.”

The Presidential Inaugural Committee is presenting today’s inauguration with live captions, ASL picture in picture, audio description, and other accessibility features on YouTube. Use the links below to watch the ceremony and primetime program.

The Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (January 20)

Featuring: Swearing-In Ceremony, Pass In Review, Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Laying Ceremony, Presidential Escort, Parade Across America

Celebrating America: Primetime Program (January 20 at 8:30 pm ET)

An email detailing disability inclusion throughout the inaugural event schedule was sent out early this morning. RespectAbility is publishing the email in its entirety below.

Thank you for all of your hard work that brought us to Inauguration Day. The disability community really showed up in 2020 to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris!

To participate virtually in the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States and Kamala Harris as Vice President on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 please visit, which includes a schedule of events, ways to watch and information and links for accessibility.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) recognizes our community’s support and has worked to reflect it in our inaugural celebratory events. Below is a top line list of Americans with disabilities represented in PIC and related allied partner events and an invite to the Signs of Change Virtual Inaugural Ball on Wednesday night.

Disabled principals listed by event in chronological order.

America United: An Inauguration Welcome Event Celebrating America’s Changemakers 1/16/2021: The Presidential Inaugural Committee is hosting a welcome event to celebrate America, reflect and honor our history, and highlight the incredible diversity of the nation. This event featured Nina G, a disabled comedian and author who explores her life with a stuttering disability and Dyslexia for audiences.

We The People Concert 1/17/2021: A first-of-its-kind virtual inaugural concert that supported this historic moment in our country’s history with singer and actress Cher who lives openly with learning disabilities and advocates for people living with craniofacial disorder.

National Coalition of Delegates Inaugural Ball 1/17/2021: This inaugural related event brought together 2020 Democratic National Convention Delegates to celebrate their part in winning back the White House. It was started off by words of wisdom from Americans with Disabilities Act principal author Congressman Tony Coelho (retired) who lives with Epilepsy and has made his life-long ministry a campaign to break barriers for disabled persons.

United We Serve: A Celebration of the MLK Day of Service 1/18/2021: The Presidential Inaugural Committee partnered with local, state, and national organizations on service events for the National Day of Service on January 18, 2021. This post event round up in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris featured Senator Tammy Duckworth.

We Are One 1/19/2021: The Presidential Inaugural Committee hosted an evening celebration to honor the Black Community and African Diaspora, which featured Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the NBA star athlete and AIDS advocate living with HIV.

AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers: In partnership with IMPACT and RUN AAPI, PIC joined an Inaugural Ball celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the multitude of contributions they make to our nation. Mia Ives Rublee, Women’s March on Washington Disability Caucus founder, represented the intersections between the disability, AAPI and immigrant communities and the priorities that bind us into a collaborative movement for justice.

Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise: The Hispanic Federation over 50 co-host organizations, and actor with a learning disability Edward James Olmos joined together in an Inaugural tribute to tell the story of Latinos’ contributions to our nation through song and word.

Swearing In Ceremony: President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be sworn in on the West front of the U.S. Capitol building, but not before they are kicked off with the National Anthem sung by superstar Lady Gaga who is outspoken about living with fibromyalgia.

Parade Across America: This televised for the American people features diverse, dynamic performances in communities across the country including a troupe of dancers from the down syndrome community and the Ryan Martin Foundation Wheelchair Basketball League joined by players from the WNBA and NBA.

Signs of Change Inaugural Ball: This Deaf community inauguration ball will be a celebration event welcoming the new administration, reflecting positive successes over the past year for the deaf community, with a central theme focusing on civic engagement and education featuring Deaf and LGBTQ model and reality show actor and winner of both America’s Next Top Modeland Dancing With The Stars Nyle DiMarco .

Celebrating America Prime Time Special: Hosted by Tom Hanks, this 90-minute prime-time program will feature remarks from President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and include remarks and performances that represent the rich diversity and extensive talent America offers. This pinnacle inaugural event will feature Brayden Harrington, who came to be known as a youth being personally mentored by Joe Biden to break barriers caused by the stuttering disability they both share during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Together this group of advocates, celebrities and everyday persons with disabilities demonstrated cross-disability diversity and the intersections of disability within the women’s, African American, Latino, AAPI, youth, LGBTQ+, immigrant and veterans and military families communities.

Virtual Inaugural Ball Invitation
Don’t miss an opportunity to join some Deaf and disability community fellowship to celebrate Inauguration Day January 20, 2021, please join Signs of Change Inaugural Ball. The event is hosted by Deaf In Government, DPAN.TV and SignVote starts at 7:00 p.m. EST and will end at 9:00 p.m. EST. Speakers include Nyle DiMarco, Claudia Gordon, Howard Rosenblum (NAD), Zainab Alkebsi (DHHCAN), Sachiko Flores (DDW) or Sasha Ponnapa (CSD Unites), Brianne Burger (DIG), Kirston Pumphrey and Leila Hanaumi (SignVote). Entertainment includes Wawa Snipes, Mandy Harvey, Sean Forbes, Ronnie Bradley with video compilations of deaf actors in various movies and TV shows, athletes in sports, events, music, and art throughout the year 2020. Sign up on FaceBook and stream live at DPAN.TV.

RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates.

Joe Biden's to-do list on Day One of Presidency

Image Source : AP

Joe Biden's to-do list on Day One of Presidency

Day One of Joe Biden's presidency will kick off with a rash of executive orders. COVID-19 will overshadow everything else for the first 100 days but subsumed within will be efforts to push forward quick fixes on immigration, healthcare, and a battered economy.

First up, on January 20, Biden will sign "roughly a dozen actions" to combat four crises, according to his Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Based on Biden's statements in recent days and a memo from Klain, here's what the early days will look like, mostly via executive action.

- Rejoining the Paris climate accord.

- Rejoining the World Health Organisation.

- Asking the Department of Education to extend the ongoing pause on student loan payments and interest for millions of Americans with federal student loans.

- Declaring ethical standards and prohibiting interference in Justice Department operations from other arms of government.

- Restoring 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration created and President Donald Trump wrecked.

- Ending restrictions on travellers from a variety of Muslim-majority countries.

- Launching a "100 Day Masking Challenge" by issuing a mask mandate on federal property and inter-state travel.

- Action to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.

- Beginning the process to rejoin the deal reining in Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

- Protecting from deportation people who came to the country illegally as children.

- Legislation proposing repeal of liability protections for gun manufacturers.

- Immigration legislation offering a path to citizenship for 11 million people in the US illegally. Under the legislation, those living in the US as of Jan 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status if they pass background checks and fulfill other basic requirements including paying taxes. From there, it's a three-year path to naturalisation.

- Biden also wants Congress to approve a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus.

Watch the video: The Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Jan. 20th, 2021 (May 2022).


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