KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Joe Biden’s top priorities for his first 100 days in office include addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to speed up COVID-19 vaccine distribution and jump-starting the economy.
Among the executive orders Biden signed on Day 1 was a mask mandate on federal property. And, according to political expert Mark Coulter, selecting a scientist for a cabinet position, set the groundwork for a more science-based approach to combating the virus.
Biden also vowed to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which includes a $1,400 stimulus check in addition to the $600 many received last month. One long-term goal the president hopes to feature within that legislation is a $15 minimum wage at the federal level.
"That's big,” Coulter said. “That's been something that's been contentious at the local and federal level, and I know a lot of Democrats have been pushing for that for quite some time.”
Racial justice, immigration and climate change also are on the president’s radar. As for whether he's likely to meet these goals, Coulter said there are a couple factors in his favor, the first being experience.
"People who have been in government as long as he has, which is longer than I've been alive, they know ways to accomplish what they need to go in and do,” Coulter said. “And there are many, many routes they can take to accomplish that."
Democrats also control both chambers of Congress, though the margin is razor thin in the House. And control of the Senate is due to Vice President Kamala Harris' ability to cast a tie-breaking vote through her new role.
Bipartisan cooperation would still be needed, and it’s something Coulter said the public could see more of, especially in light of the violence at the Capitol two weeks ago.
"I think of some elder statesmen on both sides of the aisle that are going to want to see a little bit of normalcy return again especially in the Senate," Coulter said.
Even with more cooperation in Congress, Biden still will have to overcome public perception.
"You're going to [have] people who don't believe facts,” Coulter said. “You're going to have people who are still going to fight a Biden presidency because they have opinions, again, based on fact or not, that Biden is not a legitimate president.”