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Politics As 100 days mark approaches, Biden must consider how he moves forward on racial justice

19:15  24 april  2021
19:15  24 april  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Biden's 1st 100 days: Promises kept, broken, or in progress

  Biden's 1st 100 days: Promises kept, broken, or in progress Here's a look at how President Joe Biden is measuring up against the markers he set for himself. As a candidate and incoming president, he had promised a series of swift and sweeping actions to address the range of challenges he inherited.

On the eve of President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office, a 12-member jury in Minneapolis found Derek Chauvin, a White ex-police officer, guilty of all three charges against him for the murder of George Floyd, a Black man.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the White House in Washington, after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the White House in Washington, after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it can't take away the pain. A measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice," Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday, referring to the political naïveté that followed a verdict that was more an exception than a rule. "We still have work to do."

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  President Biden's first 100 days: What he's gotten done President Joe Biden has moved fast since his January 20 swearing-in, signing a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill into law less than two months into his term and issuing more executive orders so far than his three predecessors. © Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images A first-grader works on an English exercise on the first day of class in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021. Those efforts have paid off, with the administration reaching the milestones of 200 million coronavirus shots delivered and vaccine eligibility opened to everyone 16 and over before Biden's 100th day in office.

The verdict marks something of a shift for Biden. The President now transitions from the triage he faced immediately on assuming the Oval Office amid the coronavirus pandemic to the deeper task of fulfilling more ambitious campaign promises -- like advancing racial justice for the Black Americans who delivered him the Democratic nomination and, ultimately, the White House.

"As he's thinking about what his joint session speech looks like next week, he has every intention of using that as an opportunity to elevate this issue and talk about the importance of putting police reform measures in place," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

Indeed, if you want to understand some of the murky racial equity waters that the President must navigate in the months and years ahead, just look at how he and other Democrats are grappling with the policing crisis that disproportionately harms Black Americans.

100 days of COVID: Grading Biden on vaccination, schools and masks

  100 days of COVID: Grading Biden on vaccination, schools and masks Jan. 20, 2021 — the U.S. was averaging nearly 200,000 COVID-19 cases and 3,000 COVID-19 deaths each day. Biden was acutely aware that history would judge his first 100 days, and perhaps his entire presidency, on how well he handled the COVID crisis. “This first 100 days is unlike any of the typical first 100 days of any administration,” said Yahoo News Medical Contributor Dr. Kavita Patel, a practicing internist, Brookings Institution health scholar and former Obama administration official. “In some ways, it could be the most important 100 days of the entire pandemic.” On Capitol Hill, the Biden administration pushed for a $1.

Earlier this month, Biden's team quietly stood down on a campaign pledge to establish a White House-led commission on policing so that it could direct its attention toward something with more muscle: passing police reform through legislative channels.

"The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and is working with Congress to swiftly enact meaningful police reform that brings profound, urgently needed change," Domestic Policy Council director Susan Rice said in a statement.

The bill passed the Democratic-led House last month. But it faces long odds in the 50-50 Senate, where, even with the Democrats in power because of Harris' tie-breaking vote, most pieces of legislation need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Lee Drutman, a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America (where, full disclosure, I used to work), minced no words in describing the political hurdles that await Biden on a variety of social issues because of the difficulty of abolishing or changing the filibuster.

5 winners and 3 losers from President Biden’s first congressional address

  5 winners and 3 losers from President Biden’s first congressional address Winner: Obamacare. Loser: Wall Street.“After just 100 days — I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” Biden said during his speech. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.

"(Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia) has been pretty clear that he's not going to break the filibuster," Drutman said. "It's hard to see anything getting 60 votes in the US Senate -- anything other than the most milquetoast initiatives, like a commission to see whether there's a problem of police violence in this country."

Importantly, in the US, the economy and race are bound up with each other.

"From 1619 until at least the late 1960s, American institutions, businesses, associations and governments -- federal, state and local -- repeatedly plundered Black communities," journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in 2016. "So large was this plunder that America, as we know it today, is simply unimaginable without it. Its great universities were founded on it. Its early economy was built by it. Its suburbs were financed by it. Its deadliest war was the result of it."

The President, then, might be able to secure some degree of racial justice through his economic proposals, key parts of which he can pass through reconciliation, a budgetary process that requires only a simple majority vote in the US Senate.

Why President Joe Biden's speech to Congress was unlike any other in modern history

  Why President Joe Biden's speech to Congress was unlike any other in modern history A joint sessions speech, known for its glad-handing cadence, was bound to be subdued with only 200 folks permitted at an event that can hold 1,500.President Joe Biden's address to a joint session of Congress was unlike any in modern history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With no more than 200 folks permitted for an event that can hold up to 1,500, an event known for its glad-handing cadence and rousing moments was destined to be subdued.

"I see Democratic leaders structuring things so that they can lead on the economic and spending issues," Drutman said. "And they feel that they can accomplish certain elements of racial justice by investing money in poor, underserved, primarily minority communities -- but doing that as part of programs that are broadly popular and distribute benefits everywhere."

As I wrote earlier this month, at least part of what makes Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan offer hope to many Black Americans is the fact that it doesn't shy away from confronting the racial inequity that's baked into the country's infrastructure.

For instance, Biden would spend $45 billion on replacing all of the US's lead pipes and service lines because, per the White House Fact Sheet, "no American family should still be receiving drinking water through lead pipes and service lines."

This stance illustrates that Biden has learned from the years-long water crisis that began in majority-Black Flint, Michigan, in 2014, when the city started to take improperly treated water from the Flint River and carry that water through aging lead pipes.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake highlighted just how expansive and even radical Biden's economic strategy is.

"This economic agenda is not your grandfather's economic agenda: It is a very modern economic agenda with a 21st-century economic perspective," as Lake put it to CNN senior political analyst Ronald Brownstein. "This economic agenda has more equity and race and gender than any economic agenda I've ever seen in my lifetime for this party."

Lake went on: "It is not a colorblind economic agenda. It really intertwines, rightly so, effectively so, the race and gender components of our modern times."

Still, a crucial question has yet to be answered: Will whatever racial justice Biden secures through the more oblique means described above satisfy -- and fundamentally help -- the Black voters who won him the White House?

Forget the prognosticating. It's too early to tell.

Avoiding White Backlash Is a Racial-Justice Issue .
Democrats can’t make major legislative progress on racial equality without winning more Senate seats. To do that, they must win more white votes.Historically, Republicans have taken pains to emphasize this fact, while Democrats have attempted to downplay it. The logic of these tactics was straightforward: The U.S. electorate is both overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly non-rich.

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