What did Biden get done in his first 100 days?

What did Biden get done in his first 100 days?
Source: Melina Mara/Pool, Reuters
The first 100 days of a presidency are used as a metric for how serious that president is about getting things done. It also gives people a good idea of what things the president is prioritizing in their term.

What’s so important about the first 100 days?

  • The first 100 days of a presidency are used as a metric for how serious that president is about getting things done. It also gives people a good idea of what things the president is prioritizing in their term.
  • The 100 days measurement comes from when Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected president in 1933. He moved quickly in the first 100 days to combat the Great Depression and since then a president’s first 100 days has become a symbolic indicator for the goals of a president.
  • Biden’s situation is similar – he entered office during a pandemic and recession that rocked the United States and the world. Most of what he promised to achieve during his first 100 days had to do with the pandemic, but it covered all sorts of policy.
  • Here’s what he got done.

COVID-19 response

The Promise: 100 million vaccines would be put in American arms.

What Got Done: The Biden administration reached the 100 million vaccine mark on day 58 and set a new goal of 200 million doses given by the first hundred days. The administration met that goal a week early too, with more than 235 million doses being given by the end of the first 100 days.

The Promise: A nationwide mask mandate would be enacted.

What Got Done: Biden made clear efforts to encourage Americans to wear masks via executive orders. He also mandated that masks be worn on federal property and asked authorities to do the same on public transportation, including planes, busses and trains. However, there was no nationwide mask mandate put in place and some states like Mississippi and Texas even got rid of their own mask mandates during Biden’s first 100 days.

The Promise: The US would rejoin the World Health Organization.

What Got Done: The US rejoined the WHO on Day One, or more accurately, Biden rescinded the notification that the US would be withdrawing, a notification that was sent by the Trump administration last July.

The Promise: The US$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would be passed, which includes US$1,400 stimulus checks.

What Got Done: The American Rescue Plan was passed through Congress, though it took until March for that to happen because of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The bill did include the US$1,400, however, and was widely seen as the first major legislative success of the administration.


The Promise: The US would rejoin the Paris Climate Accord

What Got Done: The US rejoined the Paris Climate Accord on Day One. The reentry was fairly simple, given that the Trump administration was only legally able to leave the accord last November, but it was nonetheless an important step globally.

The Promise: The US would organize a climate world summit to evaluate climate action on a global scale.

What Got Done: Biden not only organized a summit, but was able to hold it virtually on April 22, Earth Day, and April 23. 40 world leaders were in attendance and new emissions targets were set by several countries, including one by the US to halve emissions by 2030.

The Promise: The reversal of a number of Trump-era regulatory rollbacks on environmental standards.

What Got Done: The Biden administration has overturned 29 of the Trump administration’s rollbacks, targeting an additional 71 to be attacked in the coming months and years. The administration has also added another 21 environmental protection actions and has proposed an additional 8. These protections come in the form of everything from oil drilling restrictions to animal conservation efforts, but they broadly make an environmental case for climate change.


The Promise: To raise corporate taxes to 28%.

What Got Done: Corporate taxes haven’t been raised to 28% yet, but the tax increase for corporations is how the administration has designated it would pay for Biden’s infrastructure plan, which has essentially been proposed and fleshed out by the administration as much as it will be before negotiations begin. If the infrastructure plan gets passed, the tax increase will happen.

The Promise: To inject US$700 billion into domestic manufacturing and development, creating five million jobs.

What Got Done: Biden didn’t get a bill quite like this passed, but he did pass an executive order that targets similar goals to a lesser extent. The EO strategically uses federal funds in a way that buys American whenever possible and incentivizes it where there is honest competition.

Foreign Policy

The Promise: To end the Trump executive order that bans travelers from Muslim-majority countries.

What Got Done: The “Muslim ban” executive order got reversed in early March by Biden.

The Promise: To end the “forever wars” in the middle east.

What Got Done: Biden has committed to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan starting May 1. Some troops will stay to protect American diplomats, but it seems clear that most of the troops remaining there will return home before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

The Promise: To halt the construction of the wall along the US-Mexico border.

What Got Done: The border wall construction was halted as one of Biden’s first acts in office and now he is terminating further contracts for the Department of Defense to build the wall going forward, allocating that money to other DoD construction contracts.

Social Justice

The Promise: To end the Trump-era ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

What Got Done: Biden signed an executive order in January repealing the ban. The Pentagon policies relating to this went fully into effect on April 30.

The Promise: To push Congress to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity illegal.

What Got Done: The act hasn’t been passed yet, but Biden clearly marked it as a legislative priority in his address to a joint session of Congress, urging its passage.

The Promise: To establish a national police oversight commission that would investigate instances of police brutality and prosecutorial misconduct.

What Got Done: The Biden administration ended up putting this commission on hold after meetings with both civil rights partners, as well as police unions. According to the White House, both groups considered the commission to be redundant.

So how did Biden do?

  • The overall success of the first hundred days is usually measured by a president’s job approval rating: Biden’s is 57%.
  • For reference, Trump’s was 41% after his first hundred days, but Obama’s was 65% at the same mark.
  • Biden also saw massive economic growth in the stock market during his first hundred days, bigger than any president since at least Eisenhower.
  • This growth is in part because of things Biden did, like help pass a stimulus, but it was also partly lucky timing on his part for having an economic rebound around the same time as his first hundred days.
  • Overall though, Biden seems to be enjoying success with his ambitious goals. The administration’s big goals have largely been met and the ones that haven’t seem to be mostly in progress.

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