US President Joe Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing, declaring the nation is “in a national emergency.”
“The crisis is not getting better. It’s deepening,” Biden said on Saturday about the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. “A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted again. Job losses are mounting. We need to act.”
“The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said.
The executive actions Biden signed during the week were a mix of concrete and symbolic actions. Biden halted construction of the border wall, rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and bolstered the means for production for vaccines.
But the might of the executive actions pales in comparison to the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package that he requested from Congress. Biden has not ruled out asking Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (Democrat-New York), to push it through by tactics requiring only Democratic support. But the president, who spent decades in the Senate, hoped to persuade Republicans to support the measure.“Leaning on executive action makes sense at the start, you can get things going and show momentum right away without waiting for Congress,” said Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Barack Obama. “But this is going take a while. Like it was for us in 2009, change doesn’t come overnight.” SOVEREIGNPH