The White House sought to bolster confidence in the leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday with a fact sheet detailing the administration’s first-year successes as the two faced sinking approval ratings.
In the document obtained by The Independent, the Biden administration touts a wide range of economic issues as well as its progress with a nationwide campaign aimed at convincing eligible adults to get vaccinated.
The White House pointed out that 85 per cent of US adults have received at least one shot and 71 per cent have received full Covid-19 vaccinations over the last year, which the administration says is responsible for preventing more than 10 million hospitalisations and 1 million deaths.
On the economy, the administration claimed credit for the unemployment rate dropping more than two percentage points, a development that has put many Americans back to work with steady incomes while causing headaches for many employers who now find themselves short willing workers.
The extent of the US economic recovery following the recession which began last year as Covid-19 lockdowns began was further laid out in sections that took credit for historic cuts to long-term unemployment and child poverty. The latter issue could end up coming back to bite the Biden administration next year as the policy at the centre of that drop, the Child Tax Credit, is set to expire at the end of 2021 and Democratic senators have yet to reach a deal with centrist Sen Joe Manchin to extend it.
Saturday’s release of the Biden administration’s ledger of accomplishments comes as the White House is facing a brutal wave of negative press centred around the issues of inaction on the president’s legislative agenda as well as reports of a growing divide between the staff in Ms Harris’s office and others in the administration.
Complicating the issue is the stalling of the Build Back Better Act, the signature piece of Mr Biden’s 2021 agenda, in the Senate. Mr Manchin’s continued opposition to the bill in it’s current state has delayed its passage for months and thrown key Democratic priorities like the Child Tax Credit, expanding Medicaid and providing universal pre-k at risk.
The administration has also been unable to make progress on passing voting rights legislation and dealing with the chaotic situation at the US-Mexico border, where an influx of migrants has emboldened GOP critics of the administration. Shocking images of massive crowds of migrants erecting makeshift tent cities in Texas dominated news programs earlier this year. Both issues were laid on the shoulders of Ms Harris by Mr Biden earlier this year, leading to open speculation in the media regarding whether she will be an effective candidate should Mr Biden be unable or choose not to run for reelection in 2024.
A recent poll from the Economist/YouGov showed the administration facing a devastating drop in approval among the youngest demographic of voters, those under 30, among whom Mr Biden has seen support for his job performance drop by 50 percentage points since the same poll was taken in January.