UTA students weigh in on Biden’s first 100 days as president

President Joe Biden will cross the 100-day mark in office April 30, and while some students agree the president has made good decisions regarding COVID-19 and the military, many find his presidency mediocre.

Since his inauguration day Jan. 20, Biden has focused on policies supporting citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, passing stimulus checks and increasing vaccination rates. By April 23, he had reversed 62 of former President Trump’s 219 executive orders.

Computer engineering sophomore Simon Aguirre voted for Biden against his family's wishes. Aguirre said Biden is doing fine compared to recent presidents, but he could be better.

Reese Surles, accounting sophomore and president of UTA’s Turning Point USA chapter, said while he is a Trump supporter, he wanted Biden to win the most out of all the Democratic candidates.

Surles said Biden ran as a moderate candidate but has become more left-leaning while in office, and he has not enjoyed Biden’s presidency so far.

Biden has issued 42 executive orders so far, according to the White House Presidential Actions Archives.

History sophomore Joseph Porter, who voted for Trump, said he does not support Biden’s decision to exploit the executive branch's power.

He said he understands Biden wants to undo everything from the last administration, but the number of executive orders he had on the first day was excessive.

COVID-19 relief package

Biden signed a COVID-19 relief package into law March 11. It allowed every American who made under $75,000 or each couple who made under $150,000 in total to receive a $1,400 check.

Surles said the country shut down when it was not needed, which caused many people to lose their jobs. Thus, the stimulus checks are valid to support those people.

“Because of the situation that the country was in, if they hadn’t been implemented, so many worse things would have happened,” he said.

Aerospace engineering freshman Darius Dollarhide couldn't go back to Houston in time to vote for Trump during the 2020 election and said he has mixed feelings about Biden’s relief package.

“The government had locked down and forced a lot of people out of work,” he said. “So, in that sense, there needed to be some sort of reparations.”

Besides the stimulus checks, the relief package also funded state and local governments, small businesses and schools.

“I got the $1,400 now, but I'm most likely going to have to pay $10,000 in the future because of how much debt we're going to accrue from policies like this,” Dollarhide said.

Dollarhide said Biden’s COVID-19 relief package came too late, and everybody in his circle who lost jobs had returned to work. Biden was able to pass the package because many people believed they were still in a crisis, he said.

“The economy was already recovering for the most part,” Dollarhide said.

COVID-19 vaccination distribution

According to the data released by Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans say the Biden administration has done a good job of handling the COVID-19 vaccinations. Most UTA students share the same sentiment.

In December, Biden set a goal of administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days. The administration accomplished that number in 58 days and has to date administered over 200 million doses.

“I think it’s been quite wonderful because there’s been a lot of people getting vaccinations recently,” Aguirre said.

Dollarhide said the vaccine systems in place before Biden’s presidency and additional improvements he’s made to those systems have helped him succeed with the vaccine rollout.

English junior Christ Torres, who voted for Biden, said the president is doing a good job, and other people should not discredit him by saying it is because of what the Trump administration left behind.

“Just because you inherit something good from another guy doesn’t mean it just keeps happening magically,” he said. “You have to do some work.”

Infrastructure bill

Biden announced a $2 trillion plan to improve the nation’s infrastructure March 31. He plans to pay the bill in part by raising the corporate tax from 21% to 28%.

Torres said the bill has many necessary improvements for the country, but he will wait to see what happens because the Democrats always introduce ambitious ideas that fall short in the end.

Porter said this is not the right time for an infrastructure bill, as the country is in massive debt.

“Biden is saying if we just get over this one last hurdle, we’ll be good,” Porter said. “I don’t think that’s right whatsoever.”

He said the country should open the economy again as more people are vaccinated. As money circulates, the U.S. will get the funding to improve infrastructure, he said.

Military

Five days after the inauguration, Biden reversed Trump’s transgender ban in the military. The Pentagon enacted the rules March 31, which ended the ban, allowing transgender people to enlist and offering them medical care.

“Trans people are people, trans people deserve rights,” Torres said. “The fact that they weren’t allowed in the military is ridiculous and dumb.”

In April, Biden announced plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.

Dollarhide said he has mixed feelings about the U.S. Army leaving Afghanistan. The country should not have gone in the first place, but leaving will allow the anti-Western nation government to move in and expand their agenda, he said.

“If we pull out of Afghanistan, we’ll just be back in another five years after another terrorist attack happens, and that’s the sad truth of it,” Porter said.

Overall impression

Porter said he hopes Biden will become a better president, and no one should wait to see if Biden fails.

“People shouldn’t have been hoping for Trump to be a bad president,” he said. “People shouldn’t have been hoping for Biden to be a bad president.”

Porter said Biden’s presidency could bring a sense of unity. Republicans and Democrats may be able to work together for the benefit of the American people, and it’s important to stop glamorizing political violence and start embracing the basics of bipartisanship again, he said.

Surles said just like the vaccination situation, he still hopes Biden's presidency will come back and be great.

“I’m gonna leave that open for him because I never want a president to do badly,” he said.

Torres said while he has not been impressed with the president, he hopes Biden will pull more toward the left and be more progressive in his policy and help average people by increasing the minimum wage or increasing taxes for the rich.

“It’s not like a new idea, like we’ve been talking about these things since before I was born,” he said.

@DangHLe

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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