President Joe Biden was inaugurated Jan. 21, leaving many watching for action on election promises within the first 100 days. Some of these promises include putting an end to the pandemic, stimulus payments, student debt relief, climate change and calls for equality.
“COVID is going to be the administration’s top priority for the first 100 days,” said Alex Lawrence, Western Michigan University junior. “I think (Biden’s) main priority is going to be getting the stimulus package that he has proposed to Congress passed and to fast track distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Biden administration has advertised the campaign promise of one-hundred million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first 100 days of presidency.
“One-hundred million is perfectly reasonable, if anything it should be more,” said Cole Hamilton, WMU College Democrats President.
Some students are watching for these actions in hopes of resuming pre-COVID-19 activities.
“Promises to get COVID under control, to get back to some type of normal by next fall, I think that's most important for me,” Lawrence said. “I want to be back in the classroom learning.”
The Biden administration has been advocating for a $1.9 trillion economic relief package, which would include the implementation of a $15 national minimum wage, increased unemployment benefits and relief for businesses and students.
“Students are hurting,” Lawrence said. “ I think a $15 national minimum wage would be great as well as extended unemployment benefits and even including college students under that, because when the pandemic first happened, college students found it very hard to apply for unemployment.”
Unemployment relief is facing pushback and many wonder if Biden’s administration will follow through on stimulus plans.
“One of the main promises was $2,000 checks,” Hamilton said. “They seem to be rolling that back a bit, which is really unfortunate.”
Biden has also frozen private student loan payments with the possibility of debt forgiveness.
“For me that’s important because I’m financing my education mostly through loans,” Lawrence said
Last year, there were 45 million borrowers who collectively owed nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S.
“On his student debt plan he’s called for $10,000 but he just doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who will fight for that,” Hamilton said. “The senate democrats proposed a $50,000 student debt freeze per borrower, which I was surprised about.”
Hamilton also said he had some uncertainties in Biden’s campaign in 2020.
“I wasn’t impressed with his campaign at all, for me it just sounded like a lot of nice words,” Hamilton said. “He had some more ambitious plans, like his climate change plan investing two trillion dollars in that, but he never talked about it. For someone who votes for democrats, I wondered if he really had his heart into that.”
Biden originally outlined an updated climate plan July 14, seeking to invest $2 trillion into clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors.
Hamilton also said despite his doubts, he still believes Biden will achieve some good in office.
“I have my doubts about what he will be able to achieve and if he has the will to achieve it, but he’s done some good things,” Hamilton said.
Since taking office, the Biden administration has been reversing several actions from Trump’s former administration. These changes include rejoining the World Health Organization, recommitting to the Paris Climate Agreement, reversing the military ban on transgender individuals and removing an executive travel ban on seven predominately muslim countries.