President Biden’s politicized first year as President came to a close, after facing challenges of the pandemic, inflation, immigration, and foreign policy. Americans are curious to see if Biden accomplished what he wanted to in year one. Here is a look into 5 things Biden was able to accomplish in his first year as President
Passing of a 1.9 Trillion Dollar Covid Relief Bill- In March of 2021, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package known as the “American Rescue Plan,” which was to offer a $1,400 dollar stimulus to a majority of Americans. $350 billion was going to K-12 schools to reopen and local and state aid.
Rejoined The World Health Organization- As one of President Biden’s first acts as President, he signed letters retracting former President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO). This was supported by the appointment of Dr. Anthony Fauci as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, allowing the U.S. to become a full participant in the WHO as the pandemic continued.
Removed Travel Ban from Several Muslim Countries- Speaking of Biden striking down decsions made by his predecessor, Biden removed the Muslim travel ban set in place by Trump in 2017. This allowed for travel from several Muslim majority countries to be allowed for the first time in four years.
Signed Juneteenth National Independence Day as a Federal Holiday- On June 17, 2021 President Biden signed into law the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act” which honors the date of the last slaves being notified of their freedom. This was the first legal public holiday signed into law since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983 by President Reagan.
Signed a Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill- President Biden signed a new legislation into law in November, that would disperse $1.2 trillion into America’s infrastructure such as bridges and roads. This bill was agreed on by both parties, with $550 billion of that going into American roads, bridges, waterways, and airports. This is the first part of Biden’s two part infrastructure plan that is known as “hard” infrastructure. With the second part consisting of a climate and economic package of $1.75 trillion called “Build Back Better” that has not been passed by the senate.
The new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill proposed by President Biden has been signed by the Senate and the President himself, so here’s what the bill includes:
Most likely, the first thing people are wondering about is the stimulus check, specifically how much they’re getting, and if it’ll be enough to support them. Those eligible are as follows: individual people get $1,400 per person if they earn up to $75,000 per year and for couples if they earn up to $150,000 per year. This means that for a family of 4–two parents and two children–they would receive a check for $5600.
Now, those that are unemployed get $300 a week, which was originally proposed as $400. This will extend up to September 6, 2021.
Public and Education
Over $128 billion in grants is being given to schools, which includes funding for colleges, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers, and food assistance. $7.5 billion is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to aid the COVID-19 Vaccines.
Child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. As for couples earning $150,000 a year and individuals earning $75,000, this amount is reduced. However, those that are eligible for full credit will get payments up to $300 per month starting July and lasting until the end of the year. Additionally, $7.25 billion is included for a small-business loan program known as PPP which allows for more nonprofits to apply and also includes larger nonprofits to be eligible.
Starting in the month of March, President Biden’s administration has achieved a major breakthrough, providing relief to the millions of Americans who need it. Through Congress, Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar Coronavirus Relief Bill was passed. This however, came with strong objections from the Republicans. Through the passing of this bill, almost every tax-paying American will receive a $1,400 stimulus check. Finally, with the steady decline in new Coronavirus cases, Joe Biden pushes for a nationwide school re-opening plan.
In the month of February, Biden increased the number of vaccine doses that were being shipped across the country, increasing the amount of people getting vaccinated to approximately 2 million people per day. This slowly started to reduce the spread and infection rates. A new vaccine under the company Johnson & Johnson was approved and provided only a one-shot dose. This was backed by President Biden’s strict mask mandates and messages to continue practicing social distancing.
Starting on January 20th, President Biden would set in motion numerous “campaign promised” executive orders, numbering at 17 orders on the first day. These executive orders consisted of addressing the Coronavirus Pandemic head on. An example of this would be the 100-day mask challenge, asking Americans to wear masks for 100 days. Also, continued to pause people having to pay for student loans and federal student loans. Finally, he put a freeze on foreclosures and evictions to March 31.
President Biden’s executive orders on Inauguration Day also reversed a great number of orders that the Trump Administration had previously signed into order. Joe Biden signed for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and put a halt on withdrawing from the World Health Organization. Biden also lifted Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. Finally, he also stopped the construction of the southern border wall, thus removing the national emergency declaration to fund it.
These first 3 months of the Joe Biden Presidency sets the mood for what we can expect from our President for the next 3 years. This also shows how, under Biden, this pandemic will start to diminish thanks to the vaccine roll out. Lastly, it offers hope and help to those all around the world, making the U.S. no longer just “America first” but also more towards our “Allies first.”
The House of Representatives passed an important bill to help expand voting rights called the For the People Act, also known as H.R. 1, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Some of the changes this bill would make include expanding the voting pool, mandating independent redistricting, ensuring voting rights, requiring presidential tax returns, and increasing election security. All of this comes after the mass amounts of voter suppression in the 2020 election, especially in states like Georgia and Arizona.
H.R. 1 will expand the access to mail-in voting and absentee voting, which were some of the ways to vote during the 2020 election. During the 2020 election, there was much controversy about mail-in voting due to misinformation and several statements made by former President Donald Trump and his campaign. Despite the misinformation, many Americans made the decision to vote from home, largely because of the pandemic. 2020 was the year with the most mail-in voting, having about 46% of voters voting from home, according to Pew Research. By making mail-in and absentee voting more accessible to Americans, it would give many people with disabilities and people out of the country the ability to vote without having to present themselves at a polling place.
H.R. 1 will also expand the voter pool, which means that it would make voting more accessible to people over the age of 18. It also includes things like automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights to people with completed felony sentences, and a reversal of state voter ID laws that would allow citizens to make a sworn statement affirming their identity if they were unable to produce an ID. With automatic voter registration, the struggle and almost endless process of applying to vote will become much simpler and quicker.
Gerrymandering is a tactic used by politicians to favor one party or the other. By doing this, the politicians are able to gain more votes in their districts and win elections much easier. While “mandating independent redistricting,” may sound crazy, it would just require states to redraw their congressional districts every 10 years. By doing this, it would lessen the influence of gerrymandering, which has long been a political tactic on both sides. While a great addition to the bill, if passed, it would not take effect until 2030 due to decennial census.
It is no secret that during Donald Trump’s presidency he hid his tax returns, never releasing them and fighting legal battles to keep them hidden. Well, H.R. 1 would require the president, vice president and candidates to the White House to release their annual tax returns. It would also require the president and vice president to fill out a financial disclosure form within 30 days of taking office. This would prevent presidents from having a financial conflict of interest like the ones with Donald Trump. This clearly seems to be the motive in adding this section to the bill.
By adding more security at the ballots it would crack down on voter intimidation tactics and the spread of misinformation. This would also hopefully make voters feel safer on their way to vote and while at the ballot. This was also a big story during the 2020 election, where many Trump supporters would stand outside polling places to prevent many people of color from entering.
H.R. 1 will also take aim at “dark money,” which would require organizations to disclose their large donors and also creates a system for small donations.
On the importance of H.R. 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “Our democracy is in a state of deep disrepair. During the 2020 election, Americans had to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a torrent of special interest dark money just to exercise their right to vote. Across the country, people of all political persuasions — including Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — are profoundly frustrated with the chaos, corruption and inaction that plague much of our politics.”
Lastly, to ensure voting rights, H.R. 1 would, “improve voting protections that civil rights groups say have been eroded, notably by a 2013 Supreme Court decision.” The court decision mentioned is Shelby County (Alabama) v. Holder, the Supreme Court’s decisions threw out a section of the 1965 Voting Right Act which stated that states with a history of voter discrimination would have to obtain “pre-clearance” from federal officials before making election changes. By making this change, the Supreme Court has allowed many states and districts to get away with voter discrimination for years now, which this bill is trying to eradicate.
Although passing this bill would be a huge win for voters everywhere, many Democrats believe that this bill will not get past the Senate due to the very slim majority Democrats hold. Many Republicans continue to fight the simplification of the voting process, even passing laws in some states to make it more difficult to vote–the state of Georgia, for example–as well as passing several laws that would discriminate against many voters and make the application process more difficult for new voters.
America has suffered for the last four years because of the horrendous acts of former president Trump. Trump never behaved as a president should behave–putting his country and its people first–and this was as clearly seen not only by our own country’s citizens, but by the entire world.
Trump never once did anything to save or to really help the country as a whole, but he’s surely done much to help himself and his own personal political agenda.
From deeming different groups of people as “criminals, terrorists, rapists, drug dealers,” plummeting the economy like never before, and knowing the dangers of COVID-19 yet letting it worsen, Trump made his mark as the worst president ever.
Additionally, as a result of the Trump-incited insurrection that took place on January 6 and the resulting death threats to both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. placed 25,000 National Guard troops and Secret Service, as well as other law enforcement personnel around them at the U.S. Capitol in order to ensure the safety and security of all involved on Inauguration Day.
Hope for the Future
Now that President Biden has taken office, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief as they finally have hope for a brighter and calmer future.
Life still won’t be easy, and as always, it will get tough at times. But, with the help of the new president and his cabinet, our country may finally receive what it needs–unity.
Biden and Harris will have tons of work to do working to rebuild everything the previous president ruined, but it is a challenge that they both are eager to take on.
President Joe Biden has proposed some wondrous and amazing policies. First, he promised to get the raging pandemic under control. He is making public announcements asking Americans to wear masks and take precautions, and he is working to obtain vaccines and distribute them as quickly as possible. He also wants to work towards more ways to reduce climate change, empower and protect women, and even advance LGBTQ+ equality!
Even though our leadership has finally changed, this is not the time for complacency.
The fight for our rights is over when the need for a fight is over.
The events that took place on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at our nation’s Capitol Building have rattled everyone, including cadets and students at Southeast Academy and JGHS.
Students in Shock
Many cadets watched in disbelief as events unfolded. Daniel Ramos, a junior at SEA, shares his impressions: “I feel ashamed [of] the people who made a fool of our country and [of] themselves.” Similarly, JGHS senior Joseph Nunez laments, “It is ridiculous and disgusting that these people with privilege are doing an act of domestic terrorism on our country.”
Our very democracy was challenged by these rioters, and students are questioning the motives behind it. “Why would they disrespect their country’s symbol of a democratic government?” asks Cpl. Sarah Shim. An article in the Washington Post attempts to answer that question. Trump lost the election, yet he convinced his supporters that it was “stolen” from them. President Trump further encouraged followers to go to the Capitol to intimidate Congress and stop the certification of the electoral college votes. This dangerous rhetoric is what instigated these heinous actions.
The United States is a country at war with itself, and this civil unrest will have long lasting ramifications. Senior 1st Lt. Nieto believes that our current leaders share much of the blame because not “all politicians” have a positive influence on their followers. Additionally, she states that, “Opposing political views not only have an impact on an individual, but [also on] all of society.”
All eyes are upon our nation. Since we as a country have wreaked “havoc” on ourselves, observes 1st Lt. Kushal Tavva, this insurrection has, “turned us into the laughing stock of the world.” SEA Journalism staff editor and reporter Ace Castro adds to this sentiment, stating, “Not only are our enemies laughing at us, but our allies might… be embarrassed to be ASSOCIATED with us!”
Students Call Out Inequity
The sharp inequity between how these mostly white rioters were treated as opposed to the treatment inflicted upon the protesters of color during the Black Lives Matter movement last summer did not go unnoticed by students.
Sophomore Paul Vargas noted that, had this been a BLM riot, “They would have armed guards and armor around the Capitol.” JGHS senior Kaitlyn M. agrees. The BLM protesters were calling for “basic human rights,” yet they were met with armed guards in “riot gear.”
Jon Schuppe of NBC News noted that while some police officers did try to deal with the insurrectionists, “Others took selfies and appeared to offer no resistance, allowing dozens of rioters to leave without being arrested.”
But not all students see it this way. At least one student believes that the difference in police response has more to do with the fact that the authorities learned a valuable lesson about using excessive force and less to do with discrimination or white privilege. Cadet Eric Rodrigueza explains, “I believe that the reasoning for [police] lack of action against the protesters/rioters is that they were trying to prevent what had happened before.” Rodrigueza adds, “I truly believe this is the reason why [the police] choose to let the protesters/rioters enter the U.S Capitol.”
No matter where we stand politically, I hope we can all agree that what happened at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6th was wrong.
Click here to see more student reactions to this historic event.
When California Senator Kamala Harris became the new Vice President, her spot had to be filled by somebody new. Enter Alex Padilla.
Alejandro Padilla was chosen by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom to fill Kamala Harris’ seat in the senate for the remainder of her term. Newsom’s decision does not come as a surprise considering Padilla’s extensive experience as a public servant in California.
Senator Padilla and his family have been residents of Los Angeles since his mother and father immigrated to the United States from Mexico. After graduating from high school, Padilla attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After attending MIT, he was selected to become Los Angeles City Council President. He made history as the youngest Los Angeles City Council President. He later became a part of the state senate in 2006 and he went on to represent that people from San Fernando Valley.
During the time that Padilla served as a state senator, he managed to pass over 50 bills that helped the issue of climate change. Alejandro Padilla’s already extensive accomplishments led him to become the first Latino Secretary of State that California has ever seen. Padilla has been breaking racial and socioeconomic barriers since he first began his journey as a public servant in the state of California.
Kamala Harris only needed two more years to finish her term as a senator; so now that Mr. Padilla is filling in for her, a lot of politicians are watching. If Senator Padilla proves to be a productive and effective senator, it could mean that he would be able to get re-elected with the support of his party.
On January 20, 2021, the world looked to Washington D.C. as President Joe Biden was officially inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, continuing the 232-year tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. However, this Inauguration Day looked vastly different due to the Coronavirus, as the national mall was not crowded with people but covered with American flags. Kamala Harris was also sworn in as the first woman Vice President in American history.
The tone of this inauguration was different as it was four years ago, as a theme of unity was a major bullet point in President Biden’s Inauguration Speech. “We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be,” stated Biden, as he spoke in the exact spot where weeks prior violent rioters stood trying to stop his certification as President.
Another difference in this inauguration compared to previous ones was that former President Trump did not show up to the inauguration, becoming just the fourth President in history to purposely not attend his successor’s inauguration. This showed the vast differences between Biden and Trump’s personalities and their feelings towards each other. Trump left the White House before the inauguration with Melania and his son Barron on Marine One. They landed at Andrews Air Force Base where Trump gave a farewell speech to his supporters at the same time as the inauguration. Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence did not join him, however. Pence attended the inauguration with his wife, showing the gap that was formed between the two after Pence did not stop the certifying of the 2020 electoral ballots like Trump wanted him to.
As Biden stepped into the White House, Trump stepped into a Senate Impeachment Trial. The trial lasted from February 9-13. Ultimately, Trump was acquitted on charges of “incitement of insurrection,” as the 57-43 senate vote fell ten votes short of the necessary ⅔ majority to convict him. The seven Republican votes for conviction represented the largest bipartisan vote for an impeachment conviction of a U.S. president.
On January 13, 2021, Donald Trump became the first President in history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. The vote passed with 222 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting to impeach, breaking party lines. However, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel did not push to have the senate trial start until after Trump was out of office. If the Senate had found Trump guilty in the impeachment trial he would have immediately been removed from office.
However, since Trump was already voted out by the people, he could have faced a different set of consequences. If the Senate had convicted Trump, then he would have been the first President to actually be convicted (although it would have taken another vote to have Trump barred from office, meaning he could not run for President again). Another vote from the Senate would have also stripped Trump from his post-Presidency benefits, such as a yearly salary and his own personal secret service for life.
Trump could still face a criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit arising from the Capitol assault, and The Shoemaker Bugle will update this story if anything comes up.
Violent protests by an angry mob of President Trump supporters took place at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, leading to a suspension of the official count of the 2020 Electoral College votes by the House and the Senate (pictured, above, protestors clash with police–Julio Cortez/AP).
In the ensuing chaos, a woman was shot and killed while at least five others were taken to the hospital, according to NBC News. The Senate recessed its Electoral College debate after the mob forced a lockdown and Vice President Mike Pence and everybody in the Capitol Building was quickly evacuated.
Lawmakers from the House and Senate were meeting in a joint session on Wednesday to certify electors in the final step ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month. They did not get very far, breaking for debate when the third state’s envelope–Arizona–came up for certification and discussion.
During the session, news quickly shifted to a mob of Trump supporters, who broke through police barriers and eventually entered the Capitol building, engaging with riot police as Congress held a joint session to count the Electoral College votes which would clear the path to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month.
The D.C. Chief of Police declared the event a riot, and the National Guard was brought in just before the 6:00pm EST curfew to clear the area and secure the Capitol Building. After a delay of several hours, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi planned a return to the Capitol to continue certifying the election results. They assembled again at 8:08pm EST with an opening statement by Vice President Pence, who boldly declared, “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms… Violence never wins. Freedom wins… Let’s get back to work.”
“We will not be intimidated. We not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats… We will certify the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress. The American people deserve nothing less.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, in his opening statement after Congress finally re-convened
Senator Charles Schumer (who is soon to be the Majority Leader in the Senate) closed his remarks by adding, “Democracy will triumph as it has for centuries.”
World leaders also reacted in shock to today’s events. America, a beacon of hope and a shining example of democracy around the world, has stunned our allies with today’s actions. In a historic week that also saw Georgia elect two new Democratic Senators, violence and chaos stole the headlines.
The Shoemaker Bugle condemns the violence, chaos, and unprecedented interruption to America’s democratic process.We feel that today’s events are shameful and shocking, and this will be seen as an embarrassing day in American history.
•Striking photographs illustrate the extent of the chaos and violence (photos courtesy Getty Images, unless otherwise indicated):
Never before in the United States of America has a Confederate flag appeared in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building… until Wednesday.
In a video that was later removed from YouTube and Twitter, President Trump addressed a mob of his supporters in a new video, calling for ‘peace’ and telling them to ‘go home’ but continued to tout the false narrative that the election was ‘stolen.’ The video is unable to be shared as it has been deleted. Shortly after 7:00pm EST, it was announced that the President’s Twitter account has been locked for at least 12 hours.
note: This editorial represents the sole opinions of the Shoemaker Bugle student staff & editors
In prior times, the LGBTQ+ community has been silenced and disregarded, whether it be in society, or in politics. The community has been shunned in this harsh field of games we call politics, but not today and not anymore! There has been an amazing uprising in growth of the LGBTQ+ in recent politics, and here are two examples.
Sarah McBride is a strong Democratic activist. She has been known for being the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. Back in 2013, she urged for the gender identity non-discriminaton act for the state of Delaware, which was later signed into law that same year. McBride made her win to become a Delaware state senator-elect on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. She took the win with a staggering 73% vote against a Republican candidate, located in Delaware’s first district. Sarah McBride will become the nation’s first transgender state senator.
Mauree Turner, a Muslim non-binary millennial from Oklahoma, focuses on issues such as the raising of the state’s minimum wage, criminal justice restructring, and Medicaid expansion. In the June primary vote, Turner led with 51 percent of the vote against a Republican candidate. In the months leading up to the campaign, Turner says they received an outpouring of support from a multitude of people from all over the country. Turner was elected on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, to the Oklahoma Legislature. This made them the first non-binary state legislature in the country.
We will see how far these two politicians will take us, but for now they will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.