Institute of Politics

Year One of the Biden Administration (VIRTUAL)

  • Date & Time

    Jan 20, 2022

    5:30 PM-6:45 PM CST

    RSVP
  • LocationVirtual
    Zoom link will be shared 60 minutes before the program begins

On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. That day he delivered an inaugural address that laid out the challenges facing the nation, including a once-in-a-century virus. racial injustice, climate change, political extremism and attacks on democracy and the truth. Calling for unity, the president said he and the American public would be judged for how “we resolve the cascading crises of our era.” As Biden enters his second year in office, much work remains on each of the challenges he outlined in his first speech.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as evidenced by the new omicron variant that has quickly swept across the globe. A comprehensive police reform measure has failed to reach the president’s desk. The political division that led to the January 6th storming of the Capitol has seemingly hardened, with 61 percent of Republicans blaming the attack on liberal or left-wing activists and 89 percent of Democrats laying blame on former President Donald Trump, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. While Biden’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included spending billions of dollars to address climate change and the nation’s transition to a more climate friendly economy, much work remains to mitigate the effects of climate change. The president’s $2 trillion social spending measure – the Build Back Better Bill – passed the House in November but it has yet to be considered on the Senate floor, as it faces continued negotiations with members of the president’s own party. A comprehensive voting rights bill, which Biden said in December was the “single-biggest” domestic issue, has similarly languished.

As a result, Biden’s approval rating is lower than every other U.S. president at this point in their term, with the exception of Trump. With inflation near a 40-year high and myriad unresolved issues ranging from the pandemic, immigration and police reform to the economy and the nation’s relationship with foreign adversaries, Biden is facing a crucial point of his presidency as the nation heads into the midterm elections, which could bolster or severely hamper Democrats’ agenda.

What efforts has he made to address each of the “cascading crises?” What first-year efforts has the Biden administration taken that it considers its biggest wins? How important is it for Biden’s political future to build on the passage of the infrastructure bill? What is the likelihood of Biden’s second year in office being more successful than his first? How can Biden and the Democrats move on their agenda with skepticism inside their own party?

Joining us for this conversation are:

Laura Barrón-López. POLITICO

Ashley Parker, The Washington Post

Sabrina Siddiqui, The Wall Street Journal

To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact Christine Hurley, Director of Production & Special Events at cehurley@uchicago.edu or (773) 834-3481.

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