House Republicans claim vaccinations and paid leave are among Biden's 100 'failures'

887

A lot of the 'failures' are simply things Republicans don't like.

House Republicans are eager to label President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office a failure, despite the improving economy, apparent progress in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, and strong approval ratings. So when they tried to come up with a list of his 100 "failures" over that time, they had to be quite creative.

The Republican minority on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a list on Wednesday titled "100 Days/100 Failures," alleging that despite Biden's promises of unity, he "delivered partisanship and failed promises."

Some of the 100 items on the list are outright false. Among those is the claim that Biden failed when he "supported Speaker Pelosi's efforts to overturn the results of an Iowa congressional race despite the results being certified by bipartisan state election officials." This apparently refers to comments in March by White House press secretary Jen Psaki accurately noting that the House of Representatives had the constitutional right to hear a challenge brought by Democrat Rita Hart to her 22-vote loss in the race for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District in November 2020. No attempt was made by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to overturn the result, and Hart withdrew her challenge on March 31.

The Republicans also charge that Biden "advocated for packing the Supreme Court," though he has not done so. As he promised he would do as a candidate, the president appointed a bipartisan commission to consider proposals to reform the Supreme Court and make recommendations about ways to do so.

Some of the alleged failures are just rehashes of GOP attacks against Biden's nominees.

These include claims that Biden "appointed Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary, despite having no health care experience, suing Little Sisters of the Poor, and locking down churches in California during the pandemic"; "nominated David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, despite having a long record of seeking to limit Americans' Second Amendment rights"; and "appointed Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. Ambassador, despite giving a speech at a Confucius Institute and who has since said 'white supremacy is weaved into our founding documents and principles.'"

Becerra, like many previous secretaries of health and human services, has extensive experience in health policy. Fact-checkers have rejected the misleading claim that he sued a nonprofit run by an order of nuns in California, noting that he was involved in litigation against the Trump administration over expansion of religious exemptions for nonprofit organizations, and that the Little Sisters of the Poor, a nonprofit that cares for the elderly, subsequently joined the suit on the side of the administration.

Chipman has years of experience working as an ATF special agent on the trafficking of illegal guns and is an adviser to the anti-gun violence organization Giffords.

The attack on Thomas-Greenfield, who grew up in the segregated South, notes her March 19 comments at a U.N. General Assembly commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, during which she said, "Four-hundred-and-two years ago, African slaves were forced onto the shores of the colony of Virginia. ... [S]lavery is the original sin of America. It's weaved white supremacy and black inferiority into our founding documents and principles."

Republican lawmakers object to efforts to teach about the history of racism and slavery in the United States, or the idea that the country remains racist to this day, about which Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said, "I reject that root and branch."

Other items on the GOP list are negative framings of Biden's kept promises and efforts to enact the very agenda he campaigned on. They say Biden failed by "allowing California to set stricter fuel standards and dictate vehicle emissions regulations across the country"; supporting a "$15 minimum wage, which is estimated to kill 1.4 million jobs"; signing his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan "into law under the guise of 'COVID relief'—even though an estimated $1 trillion in previous spending remains unspent"; and spending "only 5% of funding provided in the Democrats' spending package to reopen schools in 2021."

Biden has indeed backed letting states set fuel standards; raising the federal minimum wage to a $15 floor; and enacting his pandemic relief package to provide $1,400 relief checks to most Americans, $350 billion to cash-strapped state and local governments, and billions more in funding to safely reopen schools. Fuel efficiency, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and the relief plan all enjoy widespread public support.

Some of the alleged failures were the previous administration's. The Oversight Committee Republicans claim it was Biden who "failed to establish a national COVID-19 testing strategy," after Biden invested significantly in coronavirus testing. Lack of available testing was considered one of the biggest failures of Donald Trump's botched pandemic response.

Similarly, they accuse Biden of having "falsely claimed he had a vaccine distribution plan when he in fact relied on President Trump's plan," when the Biden administration had to make massive changes to what they had inherited to vaccinate people ten times faster than Trump had even promised.

The nation's top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN in February, "The actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people's arms was really rather vague. I mean, it was not a well-coordinated plan. Getting the vaccines made, getting them shipped through Operation Warp Speed was okay," but under Biden, "the process of actually getting these doses into people — that is something that we had to get much better organized now with getting the community vaccine centers, getting the pharmacies involved, getting mobile units involved."

Some of Biden's "failures" are simply successes that Republicans simply oppose.

They note that Biden "provided $570 million for additional paid leave to federal employees so they can watch their kids Zoom into school," "enacted the largest expansion to Obamacare since its creation in 2010," and "rescinded regulations put into place by former Secretary Betsy DeVos to protect college students in Title IX hearings." Put more simply, Biden expanded paid leave, access to affordable health insurance, and protections against sexual assault.

The GOP list also notes that Biden recognized undocumented immigrants can spread viruses too ("Providing vaccines to illegal immigrants"), provided billions in aid to struggling GOP-led states ("Bailed out locked-down, poorly managed states with $350 billion dollars with no strings attached"), and protected LGBTQ youth from discrimination ("Issued an executive order denying funding to schools unless they allow biological males in female bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.")

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the ranking member of the panel, said in a statement on Wednesday that the Republicans' list of "failures" is proof that we've "gone from America First to America Last under President Biden." He urged Biden to "abandon the progressive agenda that has America on the path to the socialist utopia the Squad dreams about. America is not a socialist country and President Biden's extreme agenda must be stopped."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.