My Point of View: Two years of progress under the Biden administration
Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023
My Point of View by Joe Pacovsky
President Biden has had more accomplishments in his first two years than any other modern president. His accomplishments were in spite of taking office in the aftermath of the previous president’s failed attempt to overthrow a fair election and sabotaging the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
A major step forward was the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed Nov. 15, 2021. This provided $550 billion in increased infrastructure funding in addition to $650 billion in previously approved funding for roads. The new funding includes $284 billion for transportation, and $266 billion was allocated for water, electrical and internet upgrades. This includes $71 billion for the environment, $65 billion for electric-related investments, $65 billion for broadband and $55 billion for drinking water projects.
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These investments are long-term. They are not happening quickly. The act allows long-term planning that avoids the boom bust cycle of construction. Rural areas like ours will benefit from funds for water projects and expanded broadband availability in addition to maintaining our transportation system.
The Inflation Reduction Act was signed Aug. 16, 2022. This allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices with drug companies and caps seniors’ out-of-pocket prescription costs to $2,000 per year. It also caps insulin costs to $35 per month for Medicare recipients.
Medicare’s ability to negotiate prescription drug prices has been blocked by Republicans for 19 years. Republicans were protecting drug company profits rather than senior citizens on fixed incomes.
Among various tax adjustments, corporations with more than $1 billion of income were given a minimum 15% tax rate. This reversed some of the Republican giveaways to the rich during the last administration. This act reduced the deficit by $238 billion.
President Biden’s latest victory for moving our country forward was the $1.7 trillion budget bill. The passage of the bill prevented another government shutdown. It includes $858 billion for defense and $773 billion in non-defense spending. The non-defense spending includes $119 billion for veterans benefits and $45 billion for Ukraine. Securing the Ukraine funding is essential because Republicans have been making threats to slow the military and humanitarian aid flowing to Ukraine. With US, EU and NATO help, Ukraine has been fighting with courageous resolve to protect its democracy and autonomy from Russia’s unlawful abhorrent invasion.
Also included was a provision to clarify the Electoral Count Act. This is to prevent another attempt to overthrow a free and fair election and seize the government as attempted by Trump, his unscrupulous allies and the MAGA mob that ransacked the U.S. Capitol after the 2020 election.
President Biden signed the first significant gun safety legislation in 30 years. Red flag laws were strengthened, and gun purchasers less than 21 years old will have enhanced background checks.
The U.S. added 6.5 million jobs in 2021, the most in history, and 4.5 million jobs were added in 2022. The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.5%, the lowest in 50 years.
President Biden has had remarkable success moving our country forward without drama for the benefit of ordinary people after Trump’s erratic reign.
Joe Pacovsky is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.