US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Grading the First Year of the Biden Administration


President Biden marked one year in office on January 20. So far his agenda hasn’t lived up to his own lofty rhetoric and unbridled confidence when he was asking voters to send him to the White House.


During his inaugural address the president promised unity. He also vowed to lead the nation through some of our most pressing domestic challenges and to “repair our alliances” throughout the world. On the campaign trail, he repeatedly pledged to “crush” the coronavirus and also assured us he would help guide our country to a brighter future for all.


One year in, we can take stock of how well he and Democrats in Congress have served the American public through one-party control in Washington, D.C.


Unfortunately, the results have been disastrous on too many fronts.


Arguably the biggest crisis the Biden administration faced upon entering office was navigating the pandemic. He repeatedly claimed his leadership would be the key to managing the virus and helping our country emerge from its grip in a better position.


Despite being hand-delivered multiple vaccines, better therapies and more knowledge about the virus and its treatments, the president and his administration still struggled to deliver on their optimistic predictions about beating COVID-19 and getting things back to normal. Indeed, the number of deaths from the virus is on course to exceed its death count under the Trump administration, and now the country continues experiencing inexplicable delays in access to testing.


But COVID hasn’t been the only area with setbacks in this past year. There were plenty of other problems that seemed to only get worse on President Biden’s watch.


Here at home, we’ve seen almost unbelievable inflation. The cost of gasoline is up 50.8 percent from last year and prices on other goods are up by 7 percent overall. Add to that the supply chain bottlenecks that have kept products off store shelves or unavailable for delivery, as well as the labor shortages that have crippled businesses across Arkansas and throughout the country, and it’s been a recipe for disaster.


And economic and public health concerns have not been the only spots of alarm. Crime, and especially violent crime like murder, is on the rise. 2021 is estimated to have seen the highest murder rate in nearly two decades. There’s also been an unprecedented number of border crossings at our southern border – over 1.7 million migrants illegally crossed into the U.S. during fiscal year 2021.


Unfortunately, the news has not been much better on the foreign policy front. We all witnessed in horror and outrage as the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan unfolded. The debacle cost the lives of 13 U.S. service members and the country’s government swiftly collapsed.


The president has also failed to hold China accountable for its role in the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, its authoritarian crackdown on Hong Kong and genocide against the Uyghurs. His administration continues to send mixed messages on Russia, including recently indicating that a minor incursion into Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin might not elicit serious consequences, and Iran where he continues to beg the ayatollahs to return to the flawed nuclear agreement that set it on a course toward acquiring a nuclear bomb.


These failures and others are a troubling sign for 2022. President Biden’s mismanagement of our domestic and international policy could, believe or not, get even worse. That would be catastrophic for our country.


The president could begin to right the ship by working with Republicans. In doing so, he would live up to his own call to “end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.” Shelving his radical, partisan agenda and inviting my GOP colleagues and me to have a seat at the table in addressing the real problems facing our country is the right thing to do, for the president and for our country.


1-21-22 5:23 p.m. KAWX.ORG