Evaluating Biden’s First Year

January 20, 2022

Big wins and big obstacles. But progress is still possible.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

Biden’s First Year

One year into the Biden administration, we’ve seen big wins: the American Rescue Plan, a Green Steel Deal, a new global minimum tax.

We’ve seen a new approach to policymaking—with an overdue focus on full employment, climate, care work, and racial equity.

Public power is on the rise, with this week’s COVID test and mask announcements showing what government is capable of.

And corporate power is facing new resistance, from progressive leaders who are reshaping agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The major hurdles of the last year are still with us: The filibuster continues to obstruct voting rights legislation and essential climate investments, among other progressive priorities. Congressional stalemates have allowed milestone policy achievements, like the expanded Child Tax Credit, to lapse. Antidemocratic institutions are posing threats to democracy itself. 

Those existential challenges—which have no easy solutions—must remain a central focus of this administration. But there’s more they can do now, Suzanne Kahn writes.

“It’s vital that the Biden administration act quickly where it can address its priorities—from racial equity to the climate crisis—because Congress has proven it cannot.”

Read more in “Biden’s First Year: Signs of a New Progressive Approach, and the Same Congressional Obstacles.”


Toward Greener Industry

One area where Biden can go further—greater use of the Defense Production Act (DPA)’s powers.

Over the last two years, use of two particular DPA powers—priorities and allocations—has expanded significantly, Roosevelt’s Todd N. Tucker explains. The DPA has helped fight this pandemic and get COVID tests and vaccines distributed. 

But it can do a lot more—especially for climate.

Right now, President Biden could use these powers to catalyze green industry. To bolster supply chains. To expand global vaccine production.

Learn more in “How Biden Can Use the Defense Production Act to Power Green Industry.” 


Personnel Is Policy

President Biden’s latest Federal Reserve nominations, if confirmed, would be part of the most diverse Fed in our nation’s history.

And Lisa Cook—vice chair of Roosevelt’s board of directors—would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s Board of Governors.

“Lisa is a pathbreaking macroeconomist and expert on the intersection of race, gender, and the economy,” Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong tweeted after the nomination announcement. 

“She’s also a thoughtful, seasoned leader, whose insight and decades of experience will serve the Fed Board well during these challenging times.” 

Learn more about Lisa Cook.


What We’re Reading

If the Senate Fails to Act, Voting Is Not the Only Freedom on the LineThe Nation

Democrats Moved the Filibuster Overton Window – The Atlantic

Fewer Groceries, More Debt: Families Brace for First Month without Child Tax PaymentsWashington Post

Stop Saying Student Debt Relief Is for the RichBloomberg

Big Tech Freaks Out about Bipartisan CrackdownThe American Prospect