50 Amazing Things Democrats Have Done Since Biden Took Office: Saturday’s GNR

reprinted in its entirety from Daily Kos:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/10/16/2058227/-50-Amazing-Things-Democrats-Have-Done-Since-Biden-Took-Office-Saturday-s-GNR

It has been less than 9 months since Biden took office — so we are less than a year into a 4 year presidency.

What have Biden and the Democrats accomplished in that time?  A lot.

The press likes to focus on the PANIC they can induce while we wait for Democrats to figure out their differences on major legislation.  It gets clicks.  What they are ignoring is a party that has gotten a heck of a lot done for the American people in less than a year.

Let’s share some good news about Democrats for a change!

Here are 50 of my favorites of their accomplishments:

1.  Run a real and important investigation into January 6th

I am jumping the gun on this one a little bit because it is just starting, but everything I am seeing here makes me really hopeful.  Mark my words, this committee will shine light onto a lot of dark corners.  You betting against Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi?  Good luck with that!

2. Got the US back in the UN Human Rights Council

Remember when we were such an embarrassment that we weren’t even allowed to weigh in on other country’s human rights?  Who changed that?  Democrats.

3.  Wind Farms Are Seeing Huge Expansion

Biden has been working behind the scenes to make huge changes in energy production.  This is one outcome.

Biden administration announces plans for massive expansion of wind farms off US coasts

The Biden administration is planning to aggressively expand offshore wind energy capacity in the United States, potentially holding as many as seven new offshore lease sales by 2025.

The move was announced Wednesday by US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and first reported by The New York Times.

Haaland said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is exploring leasing sales along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in the Gulf of Maine, the New York Bight, the central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the Carolinas, California and Oregon.

The administration in March announced a coordinated effort to bolster offshore wind energy projects in the United States in order to jump-start a “clean energy revolution.”

As part of that initiative, which spans multiple government agencies, the Departments of the Interior, Energy and Commerce committed to a shared goal of generating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in the US by 2030. The Interior Department estimates that reaching that goal would create nearly 80,000 jobs.

4.  The COVID plan is working

Biden took a potential hit and a lot of anger for his vaccine mandates.  Guess what?  They work and are getting us closer to ending this nightmare.

Faced with losing their jobs, even the most hesitant are getting vaccinated

In the quest to get more Americans vaccinated, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Vaccine mandates work.

Nowhere is that more apparent than at United Airlines. On Aug. 6, United became the first U.S. airline to tell its workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they wanted to keep their jobs.

The company says 99.5% of United employees have been vaccinated, not counting the roughly 2,000 who have applied for religious or medical exemptions. Elsewhere, other employers also report success with mandates. Tyson Foods, New York City schools, major hospital systems in Maine and the NBA are among those with vaccination rates topping 90%.

5.  Biden’s smart actions saved us from a shipping disaster you might not have even known was coming

This is one of MANY things the Biden administration is doing behind the scenes to make our country work.  This, my friends, is what a functional government looks like!

Port of LA to go to 24/7 operations, Biden announces

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday morning, Oct. 13, that the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, continuing months-long  efforts from the White House and trade officials to clear supply chain disruptions that threaten the holiday shopping season and the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

The federal push stems from a record-breaking cargo surge that’s lasted since mid-2020, creating huge backups of ships off the Southern California coast and maxing out warehouses in the Inland Empire.

Biden on Wednesday also announced major shippers and retailers, including Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Samsung, Home Depot and Target, have agreed to speed up operations to clear cargo out of the ports and free more space on the docks.

“The supply chain is essentially in the hands of the private sector,” the White House official said, “so we need the private sector to step up to help solve these problems.”

6.  Biden negotiated an international deal to end tax havens

This is HUGE and the result of MORE behind the scenes work of the Biden Harris team

Global Deal to End Tax Havens Moves Ahead as Nations Back 15% Rate

The world’s most powerful nations agreed on Friday to a sweeping overhaul of international tax rules, with officials backing a 15 percent global minimum tax and other changes aimed at cracking down on tax havens that have drained countries of much-needed revenue.

The agreement is the culmination of years of fraught negotiations that were revived this year after President Biden took office and renewed the United States’ commitment to multilateralism.

7.  Biden and the Democrats raised social security for 70 million people

Oh, just more of our party saving old people from poverty….

Social Security benefits to rise 5.9 percent for roughly 70 million people in 2022

The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that its beneficiaries will see a 5.9 percent increase in their benefit checks starting next year — the largest boost to benefits in close to four decades.

The adjustment will be made for 64 million Social Security beneficiaries as well as 8 million Supplemental Security Income recipients. Some Americans receive both benefits.

8.  Biden and the Democrats protected people from foreclosure and eviction 

So many of my favorites fit into one theme: making life better from the 99% of Americans that Republicans don’t care about. 

Extend foreclosure and eviction moratoriums

Biden directed key agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to extend the current pause on federal evictions and foreclosures

Biden extends eviction ban amid fears of ‘horrific crisis’

The Biden administration unveiled a raft of measures to prevent people who lost income during the pandemic from losing their homes on Thursday, including by extending nationwide eviction and foreclosure bans until July 31.

The White House and other federal agencies sprang into action amid growing concerns that state and local governments were not prepared to protect renters if the federal eviction ban expired next Wednesday. More than six million renter households are behind on rent, according to a recent survey by the Census Bureau.

9.  Biden extended the US Russia nuclear deal

And here is Biden keeping us safe from nuclear war.  No biggie 😉 

U.S. extends New START nuclear treaty with Russia for 5 years

The United States and Russia have extended a crucial nuclear arms control treaty until 2026, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or New START is the last nuclear treaty between the two countries and was set to expire Feb. 5. Renewing the agreement was one of the first national security challenges facing President Joe Biden’s administration.

“Especially during times of tension, verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental-range nuclear weapons are vitally important,” Blinken said in a statement, noting that Russia has remained in compliance since 2010 when the treaty was signed.

Extending the treaty made “the world safer,” he said, adding that “unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us 

10.  Biden eliminated some student debt

Not one big dramatic action like we would like, but little by little, this is getting done.  It is actually impressive how they are inching this in, bit by bit, without anyone noticing

Biden’s DOE just canceled $1.3 billion of student debt for 41,000 borrowers with disabilities — and ended a rule requiring 230,000 to submit paperwork to qualify

  • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona canceled student debt for 41,000 borrowers with disabilities.
  • He also removed the requirement to submit income documentation for over 230,000 borrowers.
  • Experts said these changes should have occurred years ago.

Freeze student debt collection

Biden is immediately directing the Education Department to continue to freeze monthly payments and interest on most federal student loans until “at least” Sept. 30.

Here’s everything Biden has done so far to address the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis

As one of his first actions in office, Biden extended the pause on student-loan payments through September, coupled with zero growth in interest, to ensure borrowers suffering financially would not have to worry about paying off their loans. Since then, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has cancelled student debt for borrowers with disabilities and borrowers defrauded by for-profit schools. He’s also started conducting reviews of student loan forgiveness programs that don’t work as they should.

He has also asked the Justice and Education Departments to review his authority to cancel student debt

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

The U.S. Department of Education has canceled approximately $3 billion in student loans since President Joe Biden entered office in January 2021. The agency first forgave $1 billion in March for 72,000 borrowers with approved fraud claims against colleges, universities and career schools. Another $500 million was forgiven in June for 18,000 loan holders under the same borrower defense rule. And $1.3 billion was also canceled in March for 41,000 borrowers with total and permanent disabilities.

11.  Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accords!

What have Democrats done for us?  Just put us back on path to protect the freakin’ planet.  

Rejoin the Paris climate accords

Biden signed an order to rejoin the Paris climate accords that President Trump exited last year, sending the United Nations a document that will make the U.S. party to the agreement in 30 days. The international pact aims to push all countries to slash their greenhouse gas emissions

12. Biden strengthened protections for dreamers

Again, here are the Democrats taking real action to help actual people.

Strengthen legal protections for “Dreamers”

Biden directed the secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the attorney general, to take actions to shore up the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shielded hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. The Trump administration tried to abolish the program but was stopped by federal courts.

13.  Biden cracked down on big tech monopolies

And the 1%?  Biden and the Democrats are holding them accountable.

Biden signed an executive order cracking down on big tech monopolies

President Biden on Friday will encourage federal agencies to crack down on the way major tech companies grow through mergers and gain a competitive advantage by leveraging reams of consumer data, as part of a larger executive order aimed at dispersing corporate consolidation throughout the economy.

The executive order includes several measures specifically targeting big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, people with knowledge of its contents said.

Mr. Biden has already put some vocal critics of Big Tech in leadership positions. In the White House, he appointed Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor and outspoken proponent of breaking up companies like Facebook, as a special adviser on competition. He named Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Khan has also called for the breakup of big tech companies and worked on a House antitrust investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

How New Biden Rules Could Make It Easier To Buy Hearing Aids Or Fix Your Phone

President Biden is set to unveil a new plan on Friday taking aim at powerful industries where a handful of players have so much market clout that they can drive up prices, depress wages and make it hard for small companies to break in.

His executive order on competition contains directives for a dozen government agencies to take 72 measures — some big, some small — to shake up key markets for consumers, workers, farmers and small businesses, White House officials told NPR. They spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of Biden’s announcement.

Biden also will create a new competition council at the White House to track progress on the 72 ideas and come up with new measures to add to the list.

That systematic approach should pay dividends, Furman said. He explained that a series of small and medium measures can add up to big changes.

For example, he said, hearing aids — an expensive market dominated by a few players — is one area ripe for competition. The Obama administration tried to make it possible to buy more types of hearing aids at pharmacies, just like reading glasses, rather than treating them like expensive medical devices.

“That won’t transform our economy,” Furman said, “but for a lot of people, that’ll save them thousands of dollars. And that’s the type of action you want to do over and over again.”

14.  Biden reinvested in cybersecurity

Another big behind the scenes move.  This is just one example of all the Biden admin has done to increase cyber security

After big hack of U.S. government, Biden enlists ‘world class’ cybersecurity team

Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, drawing praise from former defense officials and investigators as the U.S. government works to recover from one of the biggest hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies.

“It is great to see the priority that the new administration is giving to cyber,” said Suzanne Spaulding, director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cybersecurity was demoted as a policy field under the Trump administration. It discontinued the Cybersecurity Coordinator position at the White House, shrunk the State Department’s cyber diplomacy wing, and fired federal cybersecurity leader Chris Krebs in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s Nov. 3 election defeat.

15.  Biden strengthened unions

Protect the 99%?  ✅

Execute order designed to protect workers

It is focused on protecting federal workers and contractors, in part by restoring collective bargaining power and worker protections by revoking measures that President Donald Trump had signed. It also eliminates Schedule F, a class of worker that Trump had established that stripped many federal civil service employees of job protections.

It asks agencies to take a look at which federalemployees are earning less than $15 per hour and come up with recommendations to get them above that wage.

Biden Ousts All 10 of Trump’s Union Busters From Powerful Labor Panel

On Tuesday, Joe Biden demanded the resignations of all 10 of Donald Trump’s appointees to the Federal Service Impasses Panel, a powerful labor relations board, in a major victory for federal unions. Eight members resigned, and two were fired after refusing to step down. Trump’s appointees—a group of partisan anti-labor activists—had hobbled federal unions for years, sabotaging their ability to organize and bargain collectively. Biden’s clean sweep, which was first reported by Government Executive’s Erich Wagner, marks a crucial step toward ending his predecessor’s campaign of federal union busting.

Biden’s support for unions if almost unprecedented

President Joe Biden made a historic statement in favor of workers’ right to organize and against employer intimidation of workers in a video released Sunday evening. “I made it clear when I was running, that my administration’s policy would be to support unions organizing and the right to collectively bargain,” he said. “I’m keeping that promise. You should all remember the National Labor Relations Act didn’t just say that unions are allowed to exist, it said that we should encourage unions.

“So let me be really clear: It’s not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union,” Biden continued. “But let me be even more clear: it’s not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers—full stop. Full stop.”

Biden’s video came days after a group of progressive organizations called on him to support the Amazon workers’ effort. Labor historians and worker advocates hailed the video as a major step beyond those Biden’s predecessors took.

“It’s almost unprecedented in American history,” Erik Loomis, a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island, told The Washington Post. “We have the sense that previous presidents in the mid-20th century were overtly pro-union, but that really wasn’t the case. Even FDR never really came out and told workers directly to support a union.”

”We haven’t had this aggressive and positive of a statement from a president of the United States on behalf of workers in decades,” said Faiz Shakir, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign manager and the founder of More Perfect Union. “It is monumental that you have a president sending a message to workers across the country that if you take the courageous step to start to unionize you will have allies in the administration, the NLRB, and the Labor Department. It means a lot.”

16. Biden got rid of burrowing

This is just one of many moves they made to get rid of corruption

Biden To Toss Trump Plan That Would Have Made It Easier To Fire Top Civil Servants

President Biden plans to sign an order on Friday that will toss a plan that would have made it easier to fire top career civil servants and hire political appointees into high-ranking positions — a practice known as “burrowing.”

Former President Donald Trump’s plan to create the “Schedule F” category had been decried by federal unions as an attack on people he called the “deep state” when it was announced in October. The Biden White House was quick to cancel the classification, saying it “undermines the foundations of the civil service.”finally…..

17.  Biden ordered all federal contractors to pay their workers a $15 minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave.

Protect the 99%?  ✅

Biden executive order takes steps to require federal contractors pay $15 minimum wage

Biden plans to sign an executive order that will expand protections for federal workers, including putting federal agencies on a path to require a $15 minimum wage for contractors.

18. Fighting domestic violent extremism 

Again, lots more of this going on behind the scenes.  The Democrats are protecting us.

Biden orders ‘comprehensive threat assessment’ of domestic violent extremism following Capitol riot

In the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, President Joe Biden is directing the intelligence community to assess the threat of domestic violent extremism in the U.S. and explore new policies to counter extremist networks.

A three-pronged effort, unveiled Friday by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, includes tasking the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with leading a “comprehensive threat assessment” to help shape policies to address the rise of domestic violent extremism. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will consult on the work.

Biden Steps Up Federal Efforts to Combat Domestic Extremism

The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat domestic extremism, increasing funding to prevent attacks, weighing strategies historically used against foreign terrorist groups and more openly warning the public about the threat.

The attempts to more assertively grapple with the potential for violence from white supremacists and militias are a shift from President Donald J. Trump’s pressure on federal agencies to divert resources to target the antifa movement and leftist groups despite the conclusion by law enforcement authorities that far-right and militia violence was a more serious threat.

White House Unveils Strategy to Combat Domestic Extremism

The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled a national strategy to combat domestic extremism, calling for aggressive steps such as hiring more intelligence analysts and screening government employees for ties to hate groups.

The 32-page plan highlights a shift in the government’s approach to counterterrorism, which for decades has prioritized fighting foreign terrorists. But violent attacks by American extremists are growing, a problem laid bare by the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

“We cannot ignore this threat or wish it away,” President Biden wrote in the strategy document. “Preventing domestic terrorism and reducing the factors that fuel it demand a multifaceted response across the federal government and beyond.”

19. Reuniting families Trump tore apart

this one falls into this category:

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Lawyers make progress in locating parents of children split from families at the border, latest court filing says

Lawyers are still trying to locate the parents of 506 children who had been split from their families at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration, according to a new court filing — down from a month ago, when attorneys were looking for the parents of 611 children.

Wednesday’s filing is the first under the Biden administration, which is now responsible for the reunification of families separated at the US-Mexico border as a result of former President Donald Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Biden administration will let migrant families separated under Trump reunite inside U.S.

The Biden administration’s task force for reuniting migrant families separated by the Trump administration will give separated families the option to be reunified in the U.S. or their countries of origin, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Monday.

Mayorkas said in a White House briefing that the separation of thousands of migrant families during the Trump administration was “the most powerful and heartbreaking example of the cruelty that preceded this administration.”

“We are hoping to reunite the families either here or in their country of origin. We hope to be in a position to give them the election, and if, in fact, they seek to reunite here in the United States, we will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States and to address the family needs,” he said.

20.   Obamacare has a new life

Protect the 99%?  ✅

 Biden to reopen ‘Obamacare’ markets for COVID-19 relief

Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Joe Biden plans to reopen the HealthCare.gov insurance markets for a special sign-up opportunity geared to people needing coverage in the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly one million people signed up for Obamacare coverage this spring.

Nearly one million Americans have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage during the first 10 weeks of a special open enrollment period the Biden administration began in February.

A total of 940,000 people enrolled in Obamacare coverage between Feb. 15 and April 30, new data released Thursday by Health and Human Services shows. Of those new enrollees, nearly half bought coverage last month, after Congress added billions in subsidies included in the most recent stimulus package.

With that additional funding, the average monthly premium that Healthcare.gov consumers paid fell to $86 for those signing up in April, down from $117 in February and March (before the new subsidies).

21.  Democrats passed one of the largest industrial bills in US history

Making moves to protect our long term economic interests?    ✅

22.  Democrats got increased access to voting in a lot of places

We often hear about the flip side of this (which is really distressing).  But Democrats have been working hard too.

A new report suggests that Democrats have been even more successful enacting increased voter access laws this year than Republicans have been in restricting voting.

As GOP-controlled state legislatures push through a wave of laws to restrict voting, a new report from the Voting Rights Lab suggests that Democratic state legislatures have enacted their own proposals to increase voting access at an even faster rate.

In the first six months of 2021, a “tidal wave” of voting rights legislation has resulted in the enactment of 153 new laws in 38 states—with over half increasing access to voting.

23.  Biden and the Democrats ushered in a great covid relief bill

The history books will tell the story of how Democrats saved our economy from COVID/Trump damage. This was step one.

Democrats held strong on the COVID relief bill

Many cynically expected (I expected!) Democrats to capitulate to Republican demands like they did while negotiating the 2009 health care bill when they eliminated the public option for no fucking reason. But they didn’t. Senator Chuck Schumer, emboldened by either the majority leader’s gavel or fear that he’s about to be primaried by somebody who New York voters find more appealing, has stood up to Mitch McConnell, stood up to bad faith negotiating by Republicans. What may have been an opportunity for Democrats to blame Republicans for watering down COVID relief became an opportunity for Democrats to show strength.

24. Biden and Democrats saved the pensions of over 1 million unionized workers

Protect the 99%?  ✅

 More than 1 million unionized workers who were poised to lose their pensions will now receive 100 percent of their promised retirement benefits for at least the next 30 years

the $86 billion is a taxpayer bailout for about 185 union pension plans that are so close to collapse that without the rescue, more than a million retired truck drivers, retail clerks, builders and others could be forced to forgo retirement income.

The bailout targets multiemployer pension plans, which bring groups of companies together with a union to provide guaranteed benefits. All told, about 1,400 of the plans cover about 10.7 million active and retired workers, often in fields like construction or entertainment where the workers move from job to job. As the work force ages, an alarming number of the plans are running out of money. The trend predated the pandemic and is a result of fading unions, serial bankruptcies and the misplaced hope that investment income would foot most of the bill so that employers and workers wouldn’t have to.

25.  Biden and Democrats invested more in Black farmers than any government act in history

Relief bill was most significant legislation for Black farmers since Civil Rights Act, experts say

A little-known element of President Biden’s massive stimulus relief package would pay billions of dollars to disadvantaged farmers — benefiting Black farmers in a way that some experts say no legislation has since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Of the $10.4 billion in the American Rescue Plan that will support agriculture, approximately half would go to disadvantaged farmers, according to estimates from the Farm Bureau, an industry organization. About a quarter of disadvantaged farmers are Black. The money would provide debt relief as well as grants, training, education and other forms of assistanceaimed at acquiring land.

“This is the most significant piece of legislation with respect to the arc of Black land ownership in this country,” said Tracy Lloyd McCurty, executive director of the Black Belt Justice Center, which provides legal representation to Black farmers.

Black farmers in America have lost more than 12 million acres of farmland over the past century, mostly since the 1950s, a result of what agricultural experts and advocates for Black farmers say is a combination of systemic racism, biased government policy, and social and business practices that have denied African Americans equitable access to markets.

26.  Biden and Democrats provided huge sums to victims of domestic abuse

The U.S. is distributing stimulus aid to victims of domestic abuse, who faced even greater hardship in the pandemic.

The Biden administration has begun to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to support victims of domestic abuse, a group that faced greater hardships and more danger while sheltering at home during the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that it will award $200 million to help abuse victims get counseling, emergency and transitional housing and help with safety planning and other resources.

27.  Reined in ICE

New Biden rules for ICE point to fewer arrests and deportations, and a more restrained agency

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to issue new guidelines to agents this week that could sharply curb arrests and deportations, as the Biden administration attempts to assert more control over an agency afforded wide latitude under President Donald Trump, according to internal memos and emails obtained by The Washington Post.

Cancel the Trump administration’s interior enforcement rule

Biden revoked a Trump executive order that massively expanded immigration officials’ interior enforcement work and broadened the categories of who they should try to detain and deport. His acting DHS secretary then issued a memo pausing deportations for 100 days beginning on Jan. 22.

ICE to avoid detaining pregnant, nursing and postpartum women

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will no longer detain most pregnant, nursing and postpartum women for deportation, reversing a Trump-era rule that permitted officials to jail thousands of immigrants in those circumstances, according to a new policy to be released Friday.

ICE’s new policy is even more expansive than it was during the Obama era, when President Biden was vice president. The Obama administration generally exempted pregnant women from immigration detention, but the Biden administration is also including women who gave birth within the prior year and those who are nursing, which could last longer than a year.

the president has said he wants a more humane approach to immigration, especially for parents and children arriving in increasing numbers from regions such as Central America.

DHS secretary orders ICE to halt mass workplace raids

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday issued a memo ordering U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop mass worksite raids.

Driving the news: Mayorkas said the Biden administration would instead focus on pursuing employers who hire and take advantage of immigrants without work authorizations, rather than the employees.

28.   Revoked Trump’s Medicaid work rules

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Biden moving to withdraw Trump-approved Medicaid work rules

The Biden administration on Friday will notify states it plans to revoke Medicaid work requirements, starting the process of dismantling one of the Trump administration’s signature health policies.

The move is one of several steps that Biden’s health department is expected to take this week to unravel the contentious work rules long criticized by Democrats, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.

29. Recommitted us to NATO

Biden stresses U.S. commitment to NATO after four years of Trump railing against the alliance

President Biden on Friday pledged that the United States is “fully committed” to NATO after four years of President Donald Trump railing against the alliance. During a major address to the Munich Security Conference, Biden also warned that “democratic progress is under assault” in many parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

Biden And The EU Call A Truce In A 17-Year Trade Fight To Focus On Threats From China

President Biden on Tuesday announced a truce in a long-running trade war with the European Union, saying it was time to put aside the fight and focus together on the growing trade threats posed by China.

“I’ve been making the case that the U.S. and Europe — and democracies everywhere — are stronger when we work together to advance our shared values like fair competition and transparency. Today’s announcement demonstrates exactly how that can work in practice,” Biden said in a statement

30.  Supported LGBTQ+ Americans in numerous ways

Biden calls for LGBTQ protections in Day 1 executive order

On his first day in office, President Biden issued a sweeping executive order making it clear that gay and transgender people are protected against discrimination in schools, health care, the workplace and other realms of American life.

Biden’s order calls on agencies across the federal government to review existing regulations and policies that prohibit sex discrimination, and to revise them as necessary to clarify that “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” Biden’s executive order states. “Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes. People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination.”

The executive order set the stage for an administration that has pledged to pursue a “bold” agenda on LGBTQ issues and that has already named LGBTQ leaders to prominent positions in the administration.

Biden issues first presidential proclamation on Trans Day of Visibility

President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued the first presidential proclamation recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility.

The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and bringing awareness to the discrimination and violence they face everyday.

In his proclamation, Biden said Trans Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of activism by transgender and nonbinary people.

Biden admin scraps Trump’s restrictions on transgender troops

The Pentagon on Wednesday scrapped restrictions on transgender troops imposed by the Trump administration, and unveiled new rules designed to end discrimination and provide medical care for those service members.

‘We’ll remember’: Biden signs law designating Pulse nightclub site a national memorial

A nightclub that was the site of a horrific shooting in Florida became a national memorial Friday.

President Joe Biden signed a law designating the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as a national memorial at a White House ceremony that included survivors of the 2016 attack.

“A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss. We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember,” Biden said before signing the law designating the memorial. Pulse survivors stood around the president as pictures of the 49 killed displayed on video screens.

“May no president ever have to sign another monument like this,” Biden said.

President Joe Biden to name Jessica Stern special envoy for LGBTQ rights

President Joe Biden will name Jessica Stern as the US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Friday, according to a White House official.

Stern currently serves as Executive Director of OutRight Action International, an organization aimed at ensuring human rights for LGBTQ people both domestically and abroad and will join Biden at the White House Friday for remarks commemorating Pride Month, the official told CNN Thursday.

She’s the second person to be named to the role — her predecessor, Randy Berry, served in the then-new role from its inception in 2015 until 2017, at which point the position was left vacant by former President Donald Trump

‘Pride is back at the White House,’ Biden commemorates LGBTQ Pride Month

President Biden on Friday commemorated LGBTQ+ Pride Month, signing legislation designating the National Pulse Memorial and urging passage of the Equality Act. “Pride Month represents so much,” Biden said at a White House gathering. “It stands for courage. … And above all, Pride month stands for love.”

31. Biden Recognized indigenous people’s day and made Juneteenth a holiday

Biden becomes first president to issue proclamation marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Friday, becoming the first US president to do so, the White House said.

“The contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history — in public service, entrepreneurship, scholarship, the arts, and countless other fields — are integral to our Nation, our culture, and our society,” Biden wrote in the proclamation Friday. “Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation.”

32. Gotten tough on Russia

Biden Orders Sweeping Assessment of Russian Hacking

President Biden ordered a sweeping review on Thursday of American intelligence about Russia’s role in a highly sophisticated hacking of government and corporate computer networks, along with what his spokeswoman called Moscow’s “reckless and adversarial actions” globally and against dissidents inside the country.

Mr. Biden also instructed Ms. Haines on Thursday to provide him with an assessment of the Kremlin’s effort to use a chemical weapon against Russia’s leading opposition politician, Aleksei A. Navalny. Mr. Navalny, who survived the attack, was arrested this week when he returned to Russia.

Ms. Haines was also asked to review intelligence that produced evidence that Russia put a “bounty” on the lives of American troops in Afghanistan.

Biden readies his first major penalties on Russia

The U.S. is preparing to respond to Russia’s poisoning and jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and is expected to coordinate a sanctions rollout with European allies in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

The response would mark a break with the previous administration, which prepared a sanctions package following Navalny’s poisoning but never implemented it, the people said. It would also constitute the new administration’s first major step in holding Russia accountable for human rights abuses, which Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have listed as a key pillar of their foreign policy agenda.

Biden makes good on his promise to punish Russia for the massive SolarWinds hack

The Biden administration has officially blamed and sanctioned Russia for its role in the massive SolarWinds hack that compromised computer systems in multiple government agencies as well as private companies.

In an executive order issued April 15, President Biden levied a variety of economic sanctions against several Russian financial institutions, technology companies, and individuals designated as having participated in “harmful foreign activities,” including but not limited to the hack.

The biggest winner in the Biden-Putin summit: Democracy

Putin offered a few compliments to President Biden — some that were intentional (e.g., that Biden is experienced in diplomacy), and others that were not (e.g., that Biden’s views on human rights are different than Biden’s predecessor). He also provided a glimpse into his gloomy worldview: “There is no happiness in life. There’s only a mirage on the horizon.”

The contrast between Putin and Biden was on clear display during their individual news conferences. Even the settings of those events were remarkably distinct: Putin held his inside; Biden’s was outside, with bright sunshine and a picturesque background.

Biden emphasized his defense of human rights and democracy. “I pointed out to [Putin], that’s why we are going to raise our concerns about cases, like Alexei Navalny. I made it clear to President Putin, and will continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights, because that’s what we are. That’s who we are,” he recounted. “No president of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values. . . . Human rights is going to always be on the table, I told him.” The president also warned that if Navalny died, the consequences for Russia would be devastating. When asked about Putin’s false equivalency between his jailing of a dissident and Jan. 6, Biden declared it a “ridiculous comparison.”

What a difference a presidential election makes. Here was a sober, serious U.S. president defending democracy and standing firm against a thuggish dictator. 

Biden wiped the smirk off Putin’s face

At Helsinki in July 2018, then-President Trump simpered and cowered. In a low point of a presidency with more low points than Death Valley, Trump accepted at face value Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful” denials of complicity in the 2016 election attack. Putin emerged from that meeting smirking like the cat that swallowed the canary.

As the historian Michael Beschloss noted, there was no such grin on Putin’s lips when he did his solo press conference after meeting with Biden on Wednesday. While Putin engaged in his usual dishonesty and whataboutism — he compared his jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny with the prosecution of the Capitol rioters — his manner was subdued and far from triumphant. He attacked the United States but was careful not to insult Biden personally. He even compared the current president favorably to his predecessor: “President Biden is an experienced statesman. He is very different from President Trump.” (Ouch. That’s got to sting for Putin’s biggest fanboy in the United States.)

33.  Changed the border to be more humane

Texas family detention centers expected to transform into rapid-processing hubs

The Biden administration is preparing to convert its immigrant family detention centers in South Texas into Ellis Island-style rapid-processing hubs that will screen migrant parents and children with a goal of releasing them into the United States within 72 hours, according to Department of Homeland Security draft plans obtained by The Washington Post.

“We welcome the change, because the detention of families — we never thought that was a good system or a good policy at all,” said Edna Yang, co-executive director of American Gateways, an immigration legal aid organization in Texas. “They shouldn’t be detained, and they should be given the opportunity to go before the immigration judge and be released in the community and not held like prisoners.”

Transforming family detention amounts to a wholesale repudiation of not only Donald Trump’s policies but also Barack Obama’s and presents a significantly different vision of how to handle the fast-changing character of mass migration at the southern border.

Number of children held in Border Patrol facilities drops 84% since peak last month

The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official, underscoring the significant progress made by the administration after reaching record high custody figure

Biden administration grants protected status to thousands of Haitian migrants

The Biden administration will grant a form of provisional residency known as temporary protected status to tens of thousands of Haitian migrants living in the United States without legal status, the Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday, citing worsening conditions in the Caribbean nation.

Biden ‘greatly expands’ number of Central American children eligible to apply for asylum in U.S.

The Biden administration said Tuesday that it will expand the number of Central American children eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. while still in their home countries.

The program, known as the Central American Minors Program, began in 2014, during the Obama administration, to allow children whose parents were legally in the U.S. to apply for admission, but the Trump administration stopped it. The Biden administration had been accepting applications only from children with cases that were pending when the program closed.

Now, the program will go beyond the Obama administration’s eligibility limits to consider children whose parents have asylum cases pending in the U.S., a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said the new eligibility requirements will “greatly expand” the program.

34. Improved gun control

Biden acts on gun control

President Biden on Thursday announced a series of executive actions to curb gun violence, and he pledged to push for sweeping change to the country’s firearms laws — his first substantive response to a pair of mass shootings last month that left 18 dead.

The president unveiled new rules on “ghost guns” — firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track — among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.

Biden said his moves Thursday do not relieve Congress of the responsibility to act. He urged lawmakers to take up gun-control legislation, including measures already passed by the House that would require more gun buyers to undergo background checks.

“They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they’ve passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence,” Biden said. “Enough prayers. Time for some action.”

35.  Reduced the number of hungry Americans

Protect the 99%?  ✅  This is an area where A TON has been done and it is all amazing.

Historic increase in food stamp benefits starts in October

Food stamp recipients will see their monthly payments go up in October thanks to a major update to the program, even though a special pandemic boost has now expired.

Benefits will jump 27% above pre-pandemic levels, on average — the largest increase in its history. The change stems from a revision of the Thrifty Food Plan, which determines the benefit amounts of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the formal name for food stamps.

Biden Effort to Combat Hunger Marks ‘a Profound Change’

 With more than one in 10 households reporting that they lack enough to eat, the Biden administration is accelerating a vast campaign of hunger relief that will temporarily increase assistance by tens of billions of dollars and set the stage for what officials envision as lasting expansions of aid.

The effort to rush more food assistance to more people is notable both for the scale of its ambition and the variety of its legislative and administrative actions. The campaign has increased food stamps by more than $1 billion a month, provided needy children a dollar a day for snacks, expanded a produce allowance for pregnant women and children, and authorized the largest children’s summer feeding program in history.

“We haven’t seen an expansion of food assistance of this magnitude since the founding of the modern food stamp program in 1977,” said James P. Ziliak, an economist at the University of Kentucky who studies nutrition programs. “It’s a profound change.”

President Biden to increase federal food benefits among executive actions aimed at stabilizing U.S. economy

Biden is asking the Department of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — commonly known as food stamps — and to increase by 15 percent benefits awarded through a school meals program for low-income studentsstarted during the pandemic, according to Biden administration officials. That could give a family of three children more than $100 in extra benefits every two months, officials said.

Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters on a call Thursday night that the measures are meant as only partial solutions, as the administration kicks off negotiations with Congress on its $1.9 trillion relief economic proposal.

Biden’s order attempts in several ways to address the surge in hunger in America during the pandemic, with approximately 50 million people, including 17 million children, considered food insecure.

Perhaps the most significant change in this executive order is a reassessment of the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, the basis for determining SNAP benefits. Lisa Davis, senior vice president of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, said the metrics are out of date with the economic realities most struggling households face. The president will ask the USDA to consider beginning the process of revising the Thrifty Food Plan to better reflect the modern cost of a healthy basic diet.

Biden Quietly Preparing for Food Stamp Increase Without Congress

The Biden administration is quietly laying the groundwork for a long-term increase in food aid for tens of millions of Americans, without going through the ordeal of a fight with congressional Republicans.

The instrument is an obscure U.S. Department of Agriculture shopping list used to determine food stamp benefits, known as the market basket.

A review of the so-called Thrifty Food Plan, ordered by Biden two days after he took office, could trigger an automatic increase in benefits as soon as Oct. 1, a day after expiration of a temporary 15% boost in food stamp payments that Biden included in his $1.9 trillion Covid-relief package.

36.  Strengthened the economy

Given the circumstances, it is amazing how well the economy is doing.  Another thing the press is ignoring.

Weekly jobless claims fall below 300,000 for first time amid pandemic

The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims fell below 300,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 36,000 drop brought the weekly count to 293,000, strikingly close to the pre-pandemic mark of 256,000. The four-week moving average fell by 10,500 to 334,250, its lowest level since March 2020.

37.  Slashed child hunger

This is amazing.  

Round one of child tax credit payments slashed hunger rates, U.S. data shows

The percentage of American families with kids who report not having enough to eat fell dramatically after the first child tax credit payments were distributed last month, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The government’s finding shows that the monthly payments are having a major and immediate impact on millions of households, potentially bolstering President Joe Biden’s push to extend the tax credit past the end of this year, when it is set to expire.

38: Clean water for Flint

Flint has replaced over 10,000 lead pipes

The city’s effort to remove lead pipes shows what’s possible with funding and political
will.

Now, this once-poisoned city is on the brink of a milestone. A lead water pipe removal program, established under a 2017 court order issued as part of a massive lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents, is inching toward a close. Block by block, house by house, the city and its contractors have excavated and checked more than 27,000 pipes to determine what hidden risks remain under the ground.

The effort has led the city to replace more than 10,000 lead pipes so far, officials say.

39.  Protecting women’s health

Biden administration reverses Trump rule barring federally funded family planning clinics from abortion referrals

The Biden administration has revoked a Trump-era rule that had become a flash point in the abortion wars, saying Monday it would no longer bar clinics that receive federal family planning aid from advising people about ending their pregnancies.

The new rule for the half-century-old family planning program known as Title X will allow health centers to receive the federal funds even if they refer patients for abortions. It takes effect Nov. 8.

40: Shared vaccines with the world

Biden pledges to double U.S. donations of Pfizer vaccine for poor nations

President Biden announced Wednesday that the United States will double the number of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses it is donating to other countries, a step toward the goal of immunizing 70 percent of the world’s 8 billion people within the next year.

41.  Nominated leaders who will be tough on big banking

Biden taps Wall Street critic Saule Omarova for key banking regulation post

President Biden will nominate Saule Omarova, a Cornell University law professor, to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, selecting an outspoken critic of the banking and crypto sectors to oversee the biggest U.S. banks.

The White House announced the pick Thursday, noting that if confirmed, Omarova would be the first woman and the first person of color to lead the 158-year-old agency.

Liberal senators cheered the decision. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pointed to Omarova’s background as an academic, Treasury Department official and corporate lawyer, saying her experience “will allow her to work with stakeholders across our financial system to ensure the economy works for everyone, and to protect our economic recovery from the risky activities of Wall Street and other bad actors.”

42.  Quietly and carefully addressing unchecked Chinese military power

Biden and Harris are pulling off a shift in our foreign policy orientation that has been talked about for more than a decade

Biden and Harris are pulling off a shift in our foreign policy orientation that has been talked about for more than a decade — a “pivot” or “tilt” away from our traditional focus on Europe and the Middle East toward the region now called the Indo-Pacific, with an eye toward the rise of China as a competing superpower.

Biden secretly negotiated a new defense pact with Australia and Britain that will give the Australians nuclear-powered submarine technology as a check on China’s growing naval power. He hosted the first in-person summit of the Quad strategic alliance — the United States, Japan, Australia and India — in another initiative aimed at containing China’s regional ambitions. He sent Harris to Southeast Asia to shore up U.S. ties with Singapore and Vietnam.

43.  Ended the forever war

Biden got us out of Afghanistan

The Obama administration talked for years about ending the war in Afghanistan and withdrawing American forces, but ended up agreeing to a troop surge instead. The Trump administration signed a bad deal, incompetently negotiated, to bring U.S. troops home but got booted out of office before being able to follow through. Biden could have tried to get out of the bargain. Instead, he went ahead and fulfilled it.  This nation’s longest war is over — any way you look at it, that’s a historic milestone, and one Biden has used to reshape U.S. goals abroad.

44.  Preserving DACA

Biden administration takes new steps to preserve Obama-era DACA immigration program

The Biden administration Monday morning took steps to save the Obama-era DACA program that shields hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been the subject of ongoing litigation since it was established in 2012. President Donald Trump tried to terminate the program, an effort blocked by the Supreme Court.

For years, Congress has tried and failed to pass legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship or otherwise address the immigration system. In the absence of legislation, the Obama administration and now, the Biden administration has relied on DACA to ensure the group known as “Dreamers” — many of whom are now adults — can stay and work in the US.

45:  Brought diversity to the judicial branch

Biden nominates nine top federal prosecutors; several historic firsts

President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated a slate of nine people to serve as U.S. attorneys, including several who, if confirmed, would become the first Black women to serve as the top federal prosecutors in their districts.

Biden has in total nominated 25 people to run some of the 93 U.S. attorneys’ offices nationally. His latest picks would lead federal prosecutors’ offices in Colorado, Hawaii, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and the U.S. Virgin Islands

46. Transformed the lower courts

Biden is on track to transform federal courts

Media coverage of the Trump administration often posited that he had transformed the judiciary by appointing 234 federal judges. While it is true his appointees to the Supreme Court have turned that body into an instrument of right-wing policy, the right-wing grip on lower courts is weaker than one might imagine, thanks to the number of Obama appointees (334) and the furious pace of nominees under the current president.

The White House on Thursday announced its eighth slate of nominees to federal courts, raising that total to 53. Of these, 14 have been confirmed. For comparison’s sake, by Sept. 1 of his first year, President Donald Trump had a grand total of six confirmed judges. By the end of the year, he had appointed just 19. Eventually, he was able to appoint 234 federal judges.

The vast majority of cases never reach the Supreme Court, so the composition of lower courts, especially appellate courts that set precedent for lower courts throughout their circuits, is critical in determining the legal landscape.

47.  Added legal defense for immigrant kids

The Biden Administration Is Providing Legal Representation For Certain Immigrant Children In Eight US Cities

The Biden administration will provide government-funded legal representation to certain unaccompanied immigrant children in deportation proceedings in eight US cities as part of an effort to boost legal access in the immigration court system, according to agency officials.

The new effort, labeled the Counsel for Children Initiative, comes months after the Biden White House dealt with an increase in children arriving at the southern border, leading to overcrowded detention facilities and a scramble to find appropriate locations to hold them. Immigrants in deportation proceedings are generally not provided an attorney by the government if they cannot afford one.

Note: this is WAY better than the Obama administration did on this issue (I don’t even need to get into TFG’s record here, right?!)

48: Biden protected people from eviction

49.  Biden and the Democrats made the largest investment ever made by the US govt in indigenous communities

50. Biden returned us to normalcy

Thanks, President Biden, for returning radical normalcy to the White House

President Biden has overseen the distribution of covid-19 vaccines faster than anyone could have anticipated, won approval of a massive $1.9 trillion pandemic relief program and rejoined the battle against the existential threat of climate change. But his biggest accomplishment has less to do with policy than psychology: After the insanity of the Donald Trump era, he has made almost everything less crazy.

For four long years, we were forced to live in a constant state of anxiety that rarely dipped below the where’s-my-Xanax level. We went through multiple news cycles every day, as the morning’s outrageous presidential tweet was followed by the afternoon’s off-the-wall presidential claim — and then overtaken by the evening’s presidential recap of whatever he’d just seen on Fox News.

It was brutalizing, and Biden ended the stream of lunacy pouring from the White House. There are days now when the administration is so radically normal that it’s actually kind of boring. Thank you, Mr. President, from a grateful nation

Is that enough?  Heck no!  But we have at least 3+ more years to get more done!  Let’s keep pushing.

Does this mean our democracy is safe and good?  Ummm, nope.  But guess what?  We can fix that too.

What can you do to save democracy?

Most important: DON’T LOSE HOPE.  This is a giant and important fight for us but, win or lose, we keep fighting and voting and organizing and spreading truth and light.  We never give up.

That is it for today.

I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with you

About D. Posnett MD

Emeritus Prof. of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
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1 Response to 50 Amazing Things Democrats Have Done Since Biden Took Office: Saturday’s GNR

  1. Mary Foster Morgan says:

    David, thanks for this article, so great to see the positives all in one place! I’d like to add that onshore land-based wind power has even more potential than offshore, according to Project Drawdown. Also a recent article from Yale Climate Connections (https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/12/solar-and-crop-production-research-shows-multi-solving-climate-benefits/) highlighted: A survey of approximately 2,000 respondents in Michigan and Texas found 81% were more likely to support solar development in their community if it combined energy and agriculture production.

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