Joe Biden was sworn into the office of President of the United States on January 20, 2021. He is the 46th and current president of the United States. Biden was a Senator representing the state of Delaware for nearly four decades. He also served as the Vice-President under Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.
Biden’s inauguration was unique in that public health concerns were a focal point of those attending the ceremony. Members of Congress were allowed to attend with one guest. Facial coverings were mandatory for attendance; testing, temperature checks, and social distancing were also a part of being able to attend the ceremony.
Initial Biden Administration Cabinet
Vice-President: Kamala Harris
Harris was once a Democratic candidate for president, running against Biden in the primaries. She dropped out of the race in December 2019, but Biden tapped her for the position in August 2020. Harris is the first woman of color and the first female to hold the office.
Secretary of State: Anthony Blinken
Anthony Blinken is the 71st United States Secretary of State; he has been in the position since January 26, 2021. Prior to this position, Blinken served as deputey national security advisor to the Obama Administration. He was also a deputy secretary of state in the same administration between 2015 and 2017.
Secretary of the Treasury: Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen is an economist and educator; she is currently the 78th Secretary of the Treasury. Yellen has served as the 15th chair of the Federal Reserve between 2014 to 2018.
Secretary of Defense: Lloyd Austin
Lloyd Austin is a retired United States Army four-star general. He is the 28th and current Secretary of Defense until the Biden Administration. Previously, Austin was the 12th commander of CENTCOM (the United States Central Command between 2013 – 2016.
United States Attorney General: Merrick Garland
Merrick Garland was famously nominated to a supreme court position as the Obama Administration was coming to an end. Republicans blocked the nomination in late 2016. Today, Garland is the U.S. Attorney General; he has been in the position since March 2021. Previously, Garland served as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia circuit between 1997 and 2021.
Secretary of the Interior: Deb Haaland
Debra Anne Haaland is the 54th United States Secretary of the Interior. She is a member of the Laguna Pueblo. She has served politically as the Democratic representative for the 1st Congressional district of New Mexico. She has also served as the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack
Vilsack was also the Secretary of Agriculture under the Obama Administration between 2009 and 2017. He was also the 40th governor of Iowa between 1999 to 2007.
Secretary of Commerce: Gina Raimondo
Raimondo was the first female governor of Rhode Island. She was the first female to do so. Previously, Raimondo was a venture capitalist.
Secretary of Labor: Marty Walsh
Walsh has been a former union official. When he began to dabble into politics, Walsh was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He has also served as the mayor of Boston. He resigned this position to take the Secretary of Labor position he currently holds.
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Xavier Becerra
Becerra has served in many political positions, including the attorney general of California between 2017 and March 2021, a member of the House of Representatives from California, and Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Marcia Fudge
Marcia Fudge has previously served the public as the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District.
Secretary of Transportation: Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg is known for serving as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is also a veteran. Buttigieg ran for president during the Democratic primaries. He dropped out of the race in March 2020 even though he had amassed a good bit of support.
Secretary of Energy: Jennifer Granholm
Granholm is the 16th Secretary of Energy for the United States. She was the governor of Michigan from 2003 – 2011; she was the first woman to hold this position. She had previously served as an attorney general for the state of Michigan as well.
Secretary of Education: Dr. Miguel Cardona
Cardona has served in this position since March 1, 2021. He has previously worked as an educator, and he was the commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Denis McDonough
McDonough has served as the White House Chief of Staff under Barack Obama between 2013 – 2017. He is the only Chief of Staff to serve an entire term under any president. He was also a Deputy National Security Advisor between 2010 and 2013 under the Obama Administration.
Secretary of Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas
Mayorkas worked as a director of United States citizenship and immigration services as a part of the Obama Administration between 2009 – 2013. He was then deputy secretary of DHS from 2013 – 2016. He is the seventh United States Secretary of Homeland Security.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Michael Regan
Regan is described as an environmental regulator. He has served in the position since March 11, 2021. He is the first African American man to serve in this position.
Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines
The first woman to ever serve in the position, Haines has previously worked as an attorney. She has been a Deputy National Security Advisor as well as Deputy Director of the CIA during the Obama Administration.
United States Trade Representative: Katherine Tai
The first Asian-American to hold the position, Tai has also worked as an attorney and as chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee.
United States Ambassador to the United Nations: Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Thomas-Greenfield worked in the private sector as a senior vice president at Albright Stonebridge Group in DC. She was the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs under the Obama Administration.
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers: Dr. Cecilia Rouse
Rouse is the 30th Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; she is the first African-American to do so.
Administrator of the Small Business Administration: Isabel Guzman
Guzman served as a deputy chief of staff in the Small Business Administration during the Obama presidency. She has also done private consulting along with a long resume working in various small businesses.
Presidential Science Advisor and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. Eric Lander
Lander is described as a geneticist, a mathematician and a teacher. He has worked at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Chief of Staff: Ron Klain
Klain has worked as a consultant and an American attorney. He is also a former lobbyist.
Agenda for the Biden Presidency
Joe Biden ran on a platform promising that he would unite America, citing a division that he blamed Trump for creating. The Biden Administration’s chief priority is the Build Back Better Act, which has not been put forth for a vote. Democratic moderates Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have both spoken publicly about their unwillingness to support the proposed legislation.
The Build Back Better Act has been criticized as a social spending bill. The bill is said to assist working mothers, to extend the current child care tax credit, to provide universal pre-K, and subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles. Opponents of the bill have scoffed at Biden’s claim that the spending bill will cost taxpayers “zero.” As of this writing, many Congressional Democrats are waiting on numbers from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) to see just how much – if anything – the bill will cost the American public.
The Build Back Better bill is missing two key components – assistance for the elderly concerning their prescription drug costs and the addition of vision and dental to current Medicaid recipients’ plans.
Biden is also committed to passing legislation that will combat climate change, force corporations and the extremely wealthy to “pay their fair share” in taxes, and provide more government assistance to the elderly and families.
On November 16, Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure into law. This bill will fund improvements to the current electrical grid, roads and bridges, broadband internet access among other issues.
In early 2021, Biden’s American Rescue Plan was passed by both houses of Congress. The $1.9 trillion legislature offered yet another stimulus payment to all Americans.
Biden led a push for individuals to take the COVID-19 vaccination. In the first 100 days of his presidency, approximately 200 million shots were administered.
Biden also directed the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
One of the most contentious ongoing issues plaguing the Biden Administration is the open border between Mexico and Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Illegal immigrants have poured in in record numbers since Biden pealed back the Remain in Mexico policy of the Trump Administration. To date, thousands of immigrants have crossed the border illegally; border patrol has been dismissed from the area. Ranchers complain of damage to their property. In late summer, a group of Haitian immigrants slept under a bridge in Del Rio. At the time of this writing, the state of Texas and Governor Greg Abbott are suing the Administration.
Biden directed the military to pull out of Afghanistan in late August 2021. Prior to this deadline, the Taliban came in and took over. The leadership in Kabul ran as the Taliban took charge and the city fell. Perhaps the most scandalous of the situation is the death of 13 American service members who were killed when a bomb detonated at the gate they were guarding. As of this writing, there are those who claim that there are hundreds of Americans and American nationals left in Afghanistan. Some former veterans have spent their own money to go rescue the refugees left after the abrupt pull-out of our military.
Biden has mandated that all businesses with more than 100 employees require them to receive the vaccine or face being dismissed from their jobs. As of this writing, a 5th Circuit Court has placed a stay on the mandate. The issue currently remains in litigation.
There are those who have criticized Biden’s relationship with Xi Jinping, including what some say is an improper business relationship with Joe’s son, Hunter. Biden has not pressed China on information pertaining to the origin of the COVID-19 virus in a Wuhan lab. In a recent virtual summit with China’s Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader referred to Biden as his “old friend.”