Thirty achievements of Joe Biden as US President (part 2) - ForumDaily
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Thirty achievements of Joe Biden as President of the United States (part 2)

Joe Biden has been president of the United States for three years. Every presidential administration makes changes, both significant and trivial. They largely escape public attention, but many have long-term impacts, reports Politico. We bring to your attention part 2 and the following 10 changes that have occurred in the United States during Biden's presidency. You can read the first part here.

Photo: IStock

Rejection of Trump's proposed livery for Air Force One

Trump personally participated in negotiations to replace Boeing's Air Force One shortly after taking office and boasted on Twitter that he was able to reduce the price of the Boeing contract by "more than $1 billion."

Soon after, Boeing agreed to a $3,9 billion contract with the Air Force that held the company responsible for any cost overruns on the planes. But Trump’s involvement in the project did not end there.

He told ABC News in 2019 that he wanted a new red, white and blue paint scheme that bore a striking resemblance to his personal Boeing 757.

On the subject: Thirty achievements of Joe Biden as President of the United States (part 1)

Trump approved new liveries for two aircraft that would serve as Air Force One. When Biden took office, he was faced with the question of whether to keep the color scheme proposed by Trump or abandon it and return to traditional colors.

What Biden did: Biden decided not to use Trump's livery after a study found it could increase the cost of the planes.

Effect: Biden abandoned Trump's personal project. Boeing also has one less headache to worry about. Trump's plan called for painting the plane's underside and engines dark blue, which could raise the plane's temperature so the company would have to pay extra cooling costs out of pocket.

Conclusion: Air Force One will retain its iconic light blue and white look from the JFK era.

Helping Save the Colorado River

Climate change has led to a decrease in the volume of the Colorado River. That's forcing the seven states that use the river to negotiate how to share their share of the water or risk it drying up. At stake is water for 40 million people from Wyoming to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the powerful agricultural industries that irrigate some of the nation's most productive farmland.

What Biden did: The Bureau of Reclamation, led by a Biden appointee, issued the ultimatum last summer as reservoir levels neared critical levels. This forced the recalcitrant negotiators to come to a decision. The Biden administration and Congress have successfully allocated $4 billion to pay for conservation efforts.

Effect: Last spring, the states entered into a short-term agreement to avert a crisis for a couple of years. The agreement is backed by federal money. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Kalimlim Tuton has been on a PR blitz across the West promoting the administration's deals with water agencies in key swing states such as Arizona.

Hack and predictor Aviator: Negotiators are now starting to think about what to do after the agreement expires in 2026. They will have to agree this spring on how to share Colorado water over the next 20 years. But the federal government is unlikely to face any major decisions until after the presidential election.

Supporting small food producers

Rising food prices and disruptions in supply chains for meat and other food products during the COVID-19 pandemic have put a spotlight on the agriculture sector. The key sector of meat processing is dominated by a handful of “big agriculture” giants. Biden, upon taking office, promised to crack down on food monopolies and support small and medium-sized US farmers, whose numbers have fallen sharply in recent decades.

What Biden did: in 2021, Biden signed an executive order directing government agencies to promote competition and fight monopolies. This included reviving a set of USDA regulations first proposed under the Obama administration to ensure fairness and increase transparency in meat and poultry markets.

In addition, the legislation negotiated by the Biden administration would provide billions of dollars to rural communities, including at least $1 billion to help small and medium-sized meatpackers compete in a highly consolidated market.

The laws provide millions of dollars in debt relief to farmers who have faced discrimination. The laws have funded a record increase in farm conservation efforts and spurred programs that help shorten supply chains by diverting food from local farms to nearby schools and food banks.

Effect: Billions of dollars have already gone towards realizing this concept. The USDA has introduced new rules to support organic markets and provide transparency to consumers. This, supporters say, will help American farmers charge higher prices.

Hack and predictor Aviator: Despite record government money pouring into rural communities, critics say the Biden administration hasn't made a difference for small farmers. First, the USDA has not yet proposed key regulation designed to make agricultural markets more competitive. If the problem is not resolved soon (and a Republican president takes office), some farmers fear that much of the Biden administration's antitrust legacy in the agricultural sector could disappear.

Recommendation to ease federal restrictions on marijuana

Since the Nixon administration, marijuana has been classified in federal law in the same category as LSD and heroin. These are drugs that fall into the category of substances that are highly addictive and have no known medical value.

In October 2022, as more and more states moved to legalize cannabis, Biden issued an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to review all available scientific evidence on cannabis and recommend whether marijuana should be reclassified.

What Biden did: In August 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a recommendation to move marijuana from the most prohibitive level of the Controlled Substances Act (Schedule I) to the middle category (Schedule III). Schedule III drugs, which include ketamine and testosterone, have “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” Now the Drug Enforcement Administration must make a final decision on the proper classification of cannabis. This decision is expected sometime in 2024.

Effect: The move to Schedule III would be the biggest change in U.S. drug policy in more than half a century.

This would make it easier for researchers to study marijuana, which could give policymakers and regulators a better idea of ​​how best to write cannabis laws. This would remove the heavy tax burden on the cannabis industry, which only applies to the harder categories of Schedule I and II drugs. If this tax burden is lifted, there is a strong possibility that the struggling marijuana industry will suddenly see its financial outlook improve. However, changing the classification of cannabis will not have any impact on federal law.

Hack and predictor Aviator: Although more and more states have legalized and regulated cannabis in recent years, federal law has remained the same for decades. Changing attitudes toward cannabis would be a seismic shift in American drug law. It would change the perception of the drug, the trajectory of the industry, and the ability of Congress to act in the future.

Penalty for college programs that push students into debt

For decades, the federal government has been searching for a better way to address the problem of professionals who struggle to make a living after graduating from the nation's for-profit colleges or job training programs.

The Obama administration first developed specific metrics for schools that want to access the lucrative stream of government funds. They had to prove that their graduates were ready for “gainful work” and did not end up with large student debts relative to their income. But Obama's team never followed through with their innovations after lengthy legal battles. The Trump administration ultimately abandoned the effort.

Biden then took office and revived Obama's plan, but with some changes.

What Biden did: Beginning in July 2024, job training programs could lose federal funding if their graduates graduate with large student debt relative to their earnings or if the typical graduate earns approximately less than $25. A similar concept applies to many colleges and universities that receive federal aid.

Effect: The Education Department estimates that about 1700 programs will not meet the administration's new standards. Another 400 graduate programs at nonprofit and public universities will be forced to notify their students that they do not qualify for the new rules. More than 800 students are enrolled in these programs. The department estimates the policy will save federal taxpayers nearly $000 billion over the next decade by reducing defaults on federally backed student loans.

Hack and predictor Aviator: Angry conservatives and for-profit colleges despise the Biden administration's policy and may sue to stop the rule from taking effect.

Intentions to return microchip production to the USA

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened bipartisan concerns in Washington about U.S. dependence on microchips made overseas, primarily in China or Taiwan. As factories in Asia closed and supply chains were disrupted, U.S. automakers and others couldn't get the chips they needed. The factories were idle. Manufacturers sharply raised prices for cars and other goods. That has prompted the Biden administration and lawmakers from both parties to consider bringing cutting-edge microchip manufacturing back to the United States.

What Biden did: The administration and a bipartisan group of legislators rallied around legislation that became known as the CHIPS and Science Act. It proposed more than $50 billion to subsidize the construction of new microchip manufacturing facilities in the United States and stimulate research and development in a number of areas. After two years of debate, lawmakers passed it in July 2022 with a solid bipartisan majority. It was a remarkable endorsement of industrial policy—government support for select industries that U.S. lawmakers have largely avoided for decades.

Effect: Anticipation of new subsidies has prompted major chipmakers to announce plans to build new semiconductor factories in the U.S., such as Intel's campus near Columbus, Ohio, and Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC's plant in Arizona.

More than a dozen new technology research centers are planned through CHIPS and Science Act funding. And the administration recently announced its first actual grant under the CHIPS and Science Act—$35 million to defense contractor BAE to expand its Air Force fighter jet business.

Hack and predictor Aviator: The CHIPS and Science Act was a landmark step for Biden's new industrial policy, aimed at reducing US dependence on China and boosting domestic production. Its passage showed that lawmakers in both parties are now willing to spend huge sums to ensure that essential goods like microchips are produced in the United States—and certainly not in China.

The administration intends to continue awarding CHIPS and Science Act grants in 2024 in an attempt to gain electoral leverage through the grant package. But it remains to be seen whether the law's effects—such as new factory jobs—will show up quickly enough to be felt by voters in swing states.

Tech companies face new international restrictions on data and privacy

The rapid growth of e-commerce in recent decades has been accompanied by increasing barriers to digital commerce. These include requirements for companies to store their data in the country where it is collected or to transfer source code to a joint venture partner to conduct business in a particular market.

Until now, the United States has opposed such provisions. They are said to harm not only large technology companies, but also small and medium-sized companies that increasingly rely on the Internet to conduct business.

What Biden did: With the support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and some other progressive Democrats, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reversed long-standing bipartisan positions on data flows and source code in digital trade negotiations among the 90 members of the World Trade Organization. The Biden administration said withdrawing the proposals would provide Congress, as well as other WTO members, with “policy space” to pass technology laws and regulations without violating trade obligations.

Effect: The move represents a significant shift in the U.S. position on global technology policy as the motives and actions of big tech companies come under increasing scrutiny.

Key members of Congress, including bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Digital Commerce Caucus, sharply criticized the move. It, they say, will harm U.S. competitiveness and give China and Russia more room to develop harmful digital trade rules.

Hack and predictor Aviator: The decision aligns the Biden administration's trade policies with its antitrust actions against big U.S. tech companies. But it has, among other things, sparked a debate that could play out in future administrations about whether the US will continue to protect the interests of its own technology industry in foreign markets under future trade agreements.

Preventing a cobalt crisis in Congo

Rebels in eastern Congo and the Congolese army have been fighting since the 1990s. The fighting escalated in 2022 when Rwandan-backed rebels known as M23 invaded and captured several villages. The violence escalated further last summer as the M23 movement approached an area near Goma, one of the region's largest cities. A war between Congo and Rwanda would not only be a humanitarian disaster, but would also derail the administration's efforts to enter the market for cobalt, a key component in electric vehicle batteries.

Congo holds about 70% of the world's cobalt reserves, and China, one of Washington's biggest trading competitors, is its main producer and supports the M23 movement with drones.

What Biden did: the president sent one of his top intelligence officials to the region last year to push for a pause in the fighting. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines met with the presidents of Congo and Rwanda and laid out a de-escalation plan, including that Rwanda would withdraw its military forces from the front lines and Congo would suspend the use of its drones.

The leaders agreed to the general provisions of the agreement.

Effect: Hostilities continue, but some have become less intense despite national elections last year.

Hack and predictor Aviator: A direct conflict between Rwanda and Congo would likely spill over into other countries in the region, and would also force the US into an indirect confrontation with China as Washington tries to reset relations with Beijing.

Fighting cyber attacks

During Biden's first six months in office, government agencies and critical companies were hit by cyberattacks. Those incidents include the SolarWinds hack, which saw Russian government hackers infiltrate about a dozen agencies over the course of at least a year. Ransomware attacks have also been a major source of concern.

Cybersecurity concerns have only gotten worse, including a China-linked security breach last year. It affected email accounts at the Commerce Department and the State Department. There has been a sharp increase in the number of new vulnerabilities discovered through the use of artificial intelligence technologies and new geopolitical attacks on critical systems.

What Biden did: in March 2023, the White House published a national cyber strategy, the first since 2018. It has five main areas, including increasing international efforts in the field of cyber diplomacy, securing new critical technologies and taking stronger action to curb the activities of hacker groups.

The strategy makes clear that the Biden administration intends to take a bold approach to passing new regulations for critical sectors such as health care or the electricity sector.

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Effect: The strategy outlined goals and identified ways for the federal government to reduce the threat of cyber attacks. Combined with the strategy implementation plan published in July, there are now clear items on the agenda to strengthen security.

Hack and predictor Aviator: While cyberattacks have not gone away since the strategy was published, the federal government now has a clear plan for how to respond to such attacks in the coming years. However, if Biden is not re-elected next year, the new administration may try to change the goals of the strategy or even put forward a new one.

Countering China with New Japan-South Korea Alliance

South Korea and Japan have a mutual antipathy that goes back decades to Japan's brutal colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945, as well as long-standing territorial disputes in the East China Sea. Until recently, South Koreans rated Japanese leaders only slightly better than North Koreans.

What Biden did: Biden has invested significant diplomatic capital in courting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to ease this mutual hostility. The effort allowed Biden to broker the first-ever summit between the three countries, aimed at uniting the two countries in an alliance implicitly aimed at countering China's growing diplomatic, economic and military power in the Indo-Pacific region.

Effect: Japan and South Korea have committed to uniting against China using a language of cooperation that would not have been possible just two years ago. The two countries harmonized their foreign policies and agreed to significantly expand bilateral security cooperation to offset the perceived regional threat from China. Both countries have pledged to increase defense spending to address Beijing's dramatic expansion of its military.

Hack and predictor Aviator: Biden's "rules-based international order" diplomacy has persuaded two key allies bordering China to move from reflexive hostility to fragile peace.

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