By Stacy M. Brown
As Donald Trump told New York prosecutors that he’d invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, President Joe Biden sat behind a desk at the White House, where he signed into law the PACT Act, legislation that expands health care benefits for veterans who developed illnesses because of exposure to toxic substances at U.S. military bases.
“The PACT Act is the least we can do for the countless men and women, many of whom may be in this room, who suffered toxic exposure while serving their country,” Biden stated.
“This new law matters. It matters a lot.”
Facing unrelenting criticism because of high gas prices, inflation, and his low-approval rating, Biden has built a track record that has gone almost overlooked.
If he continues the string of success he has enjoyed in getting his mandate through Congress, historians might revisit Biden’s presidency as one of the most consequential in American history.
Despite Republican leadership vowing to do all they can to stunt Biden’s agenda, the president has pushed through game-changing legislation like the PACT Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the American Rescue Plan, and the CHIPS and Science Act.
He’s displayed a steady hand in returning affordability to gas prices, succeeded in expanding NATO, and monthly jobs reports continue to show increases.
“You can say what you will, that Biden is too old, he’s not a deal maker, he’s sleepy Joe, or whatever, but he’s getting things done even though he’s not getting the credit he deserves,” Stacey Rouse, a D.C.-based utility worker opined.
“It’s funny. When the other guy [Trump] was in office, you heard so much talk and bragging about what he’s doing, and the media blanketed him with coverage,” Rouse asserted.
“Now, you got the F.B.I. raiding Trump. He’s pleading the Fifth at depositions, and Biden is conducting business the way you would want your president to conduct himself. I think he’s accomplished so much, but we don’t hear about it. I think ten years or so from now, and people will look back and realize what a good president this man is.”
Rouse’s colleague, Scott Anthony, agreed.
“I was a skeptic because that thing about sleepy Joe seemed true,” Anthony said.
“But, it seems other people are doing the sleeping because Biden is getting things done and he’s just not getting the credit.”
Upon signing the CHIPS and Science Act on August 10, Biden also peeked into the future and prognosticated what historians and others might determine.
“I honest to God believe that 50, 75, 100 years from now, people who will look back on this week, they’ll know that we met this moment,” Biden declared.
An acronym for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors, the CHIPS Act provides $10 billion to invest in regional technology hubs across the country and a 25% investment tax credit for expenses for manufacturing of semiconductors and other equipment.
The bill earmarks about $100 billion in spending over five years on scientific research and $80 billion for the National Science Foundation.
“Those early aspirations to being another Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, the ones that felt like so much hubris in the past few months, are being heard again in the halls of the West Wing and the Capitol,” Peter Baker wrote about Biden for the New York Times.
“House aides argue that the string of congressional victories – capped by the package of climate, health and tax provisions that finally cleared the Senate – compares favorably to the two-year legislative record of most any other modern president, even perhaps F.D.R. and L.B.J.,” Baker penned.
Politico noted that “Biden has never had a more productive stretch of his presidency,” with wins stacking atop wins at a most opportune time.
“Already the victories have enlivened beleaguered supporters and injected new optimism across the West Wing,” Politico reported.
“Aides describe a burst of energy in the executive mansion … Biden and his staff suddenly find themselves with a host of successes to talk about, from the reconciliation bill to the China competitiveness bill, from legislation to give health benefits to veterans harmed by toxic burn pits to a robust jobs market.”