Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor reflecting on what the Democratic-led Senate and Biden administration have accomplished during their shared first 100 days and what it means for the American people. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:
Thursday, April 29th will be the 100th day since President Biden took the oath of office on the West Front of the Capitol. President Biden will mark the occasion with his inaugural address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Historically, the first 100 days have been a yardstick by which presidential administrations have been measured. For the first time in recent history, however, due to the lateness of the Georgia runoff elections, Thursday also marks the 100th day of the new Democratic Senate majority, and, on a personal note, my 100th day as Senate Majority Leader.
Without exaggeration, the first 100 days of the Biden Administration and the Senate Democratic Majority have been more productive than nearly any in recent memory.
Despite a delay in passing the organizing resolution and the time constraints imposed by the presidential impeachment trial the Senate has confirmed the most diverse Cabinet in history, faster than in either of the prior two administrations. Every single cabinet secretary received a bipartisan vote in favor of confirmation.
Last week, by a vote of 94-1, again led by you, Madam President, and Senator Hirono, the Senate passed legislation to combat the recent surge in hate crimes, particularly against Americans of Asian descent.
And of course, Congress passed landmark legislation and the top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration: the American Rescue Plan. It was the most sweeping federal recovery effort in a generation, more than twice the size of the stimulus package after the financial crisis of 2008.
Democrats promised big, bold relief. Democrats have delivered big, bold relief.
And, as a result, vaccinations are up, unemployment is down, and businesses, schools, restaurants, and bars are finally—finally—starting to re-open.
It’s no wonder that more than 70% of Americans approve of the way the Biden-Harris administration has handled the pandemic in the first 100 days.
For much of the past year, the country has been plagued by two major crises: a public health crisis, and an economic crisis. That’s what the Biden-Harris Administration and the Senate Democratic majority inherited when assuming power back in January.
Let’s look at how the country has progressed on both fronts.
First, when it comes to the pandemic, we have far outstripped even the rosiest predictions for the number of vaccinations. President Biden initially promised 100 million vaccinations administered in the first 100 days. But the pace of vaccinations was so fast, the president had to double his initial goal to 200 million in the first 100 days—and we’ve already reached it.
It’s fair to say that in the first 100 days, America is winning the all-important ‘arms race’ to get our citizens vaccinated.
On the most important measure of progress—getting the country protected against COVID-19—the new Democratic administration and Congressional majorities have been a roaring success.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, our economy has gotten its own shot in the arm, too.
Over the past several weeks, the Biden administration delivered more than 150 million stimulus checks to Americans who needed them the most. Weekly unemployment claims have fallen to their lowest level during the pandemic. The month of March saw the economy create nearly 900,000 jobs. Retail sales are surging and consumer confidence has rebounded. Economic forecasters are now projecting that our economy could grow as fast as 7% this year. In the wake of the American Rescue Plan, the economic boost was so significant that forecasters had to increase their projections for global growth as well.
Our former president blithely predicted that electing Joe Biden would crash the stock market. Turns out: President Biden’s first 100 days have delivered the best stock market results in 75 years, since President Eisenhower.
At the same time, the Democratic majority in Congress has made sure that our nation’s economic recovery will be felt by everyone. The American Rescue plan is expected to boost incomes of the lowest 20%, by 20%.
Guess what the top 1%
will receive, so contrary to what the Republicans did when they had power? They
will get 0%, instead of the overwhelming percentage they got in the tax cut.
And just one policy in the American Rescue Plan –
a the historic
expansion of the Child Tax Credit – is expected to cut child poverty in half.
The story of the first 100 days is about shots going into arms, checks going into pockets, and life finally returning to normal.
The story of the first 100 days is about the country turning a corner and seeing some hope on the horizon.
More broadly, the first 100 days of this Administration and this Congress have proven two things. One, that government can work for the American people and two, the Senate can legislate.
The last few decades have brought faith in our government to all-time lows. You don’t have look very far in the past to find surveys about how Congress is less popular than traffic jams, root canals, and Genghis Khan. Faith in our democracy and trust in our elections were brought to new lows by the persistent and mendacious lies of the former President, culminating in an armed insurrection here in the Capitol.
Part of our mission here in Congress, working with the Biden Administration, is to restore Americans’ faith in our institutions, Americans’ faith in our government. Through the American Rescue Plan and the successful rollout of the vaccine, we’re slowly proving to the American people that government can work for them. .
So we have a long way to go, but in the first 100 days this Congress has made an important down payment. Congressional approval is now the highest it’s been since June of 2009.
And here in the Senate, the first 100 days have shown that this chamber can legislate. Bipartisan work on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill, the Water Bill this week, and hopefully an American Competitive bill in the coming weeks proves that there are still many issues that unite Republicans and Democrats. Of course, our two parties are not always going to agree. In those instances, the Senate must still make progress on the challenges of our time. We did that through the American Rescue Plan.
So, in the first 100 days, the Senate has accomplished a lot more than most observers might have predicted. The next 100 days will bring more of the same.