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What Did President Biden Do In His First 100 Days?

CNBC, 30 Apr 2021
President Joe Biden entered the White House in the midst of a deadly pandemic that had killed more than 400,000 Americans by Inauguration Day and left millions without jobs as a result of a steep economic downturn.

Here’s a look back on how the Biden administration set about tackling these unprecedented challenges in his first 100 days including rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine, passing a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, handling the crisis at the southern border and proposing trillions of dollars in government policies aimed at helping middle class families.

In his first 100 days as president, Joe Biden has made one thing clear — he wants to make sure the U.S. outcompetes China on a number of fronts, with technology being front and center.

His policies continue the Trump-era hardline on export controls to Chinese technology companies but adds some new elements — collaboration with allies in areas seen as critical, such as semiconductors and a focus on beefing up domestic capabilities.

“The priority is on domestic innovation and forging technology alliances to coordinate confrontation against China in the tech domain,” Paul Triolo, head of the geo-technology practice at Eurasia Group, said.

What has Biden done so far?

The Biden administration has kept some Trump-era export bans on Chinese companies. Under Trump, telecommunication equipment maker Huawei and China’s largest chipmaker SMIC were put on the so-called “entity list,” which restricts American firms from exporting technology to companies on this blacklist.

Last year, the Trump administration introduced a rule that effectively cut Huawei off from critical semiconductor supplies, a move which has hurt the technology giant’s smartphone business. The U.S. maintains Huawei is a national security threat, a claim the Chinese firm has repeatedly denied.

For Trump, ensuring U.S. technology did not make it into the hands of Chinese companies was key, especially in critical areas like chips.

While Biden has kept these rules in place, he has also announced policies aimed at boosting American innovation.

“Where the Trump administration tended to focus on defensive measures (e.g., restrictions on Chinese military companies), early messaging about Biden’s approach suggests that it pairs those with more offensive, or proactive ones — investments, for example, in alternatives to China,” said Emily de La Bruyere, co-founder of consultancy Horizon Advisory.

In his American Jobs Plan, Biden calls on Congress to make a $180 billion investment in advancing “U.S. leadership in critical technologies and upgrade America’s research infrastructure.” There is also a call to invest $50 billion in manufacturing and research, via the bipartisan CHIPS Act.

Earlier this month, a number of Democrat and Republican lawmakers reintroduced the Endless Frontier Act to the legislative process. This proposes changing the name of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF). This is an independent agency of the U.S. government aimed at advancing scientific research.

A technology directorate would be set up under the newly-named NSTF and would be given $100 billion over five years to “reinvigorate American leadership in the discovery and application of key technologies that will define global competitiveness.”

The directorate would fund research in 10 key areas including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, robotics, materials sciences, advanced communications technologies, among others.

The focus on domestic investment but also maintaining export controls is “primarily driven by the perceived need to protect the U.S. company technology leadership in key areas such as semiconductor manufacturing,” Triolo said.

But “raising new barriers around U.S. technologies and essentially weaponizing key supply chains as part of an effort to contain China’s rise are (also) part of the Biden strategy,” he added.

0:00 - Introduction
0:52 - Stimulus package
3:47 - Vaccine rollout
5:38 - Reopening schools
6:58 - Immigration
7:50 - Infrastructure proposal
9:03 - American Families Plan

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What Did President Biden Do In His First 100 Days?
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