President Joe Biden’s first year in office is coming to a close with his worst week yet — the Supreme Court has struck down his vaccine-or-test mandate, his agenda is dead in the water in Congress and his approval rating has plummeted lower and lower.
As the one-year mark for the Biden presidency approaches, a Quinnipiac poll put Biden’s approval rating at just 33% on Wednesday, the lowest of his tenure so far. Biden entered office with a solid 54% approval rating, but he has consistently slipped in the polls since spring of 2021.
While the White House was counting on passing Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) and elections agenda to turn the situation around, Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — along with 50 Republicans — have made that impossible. Both senators announced their opposition to abolishing the filibuster Thursday afternoon, even as Biden was on Capitol Hill advocating for its removal. The rule imposes a 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation and makes it virtually impossible for Democrats to push through the BBB or Biden’s effort to federalize America’s election laws.
Yet another hammer fell when SCOTUS struck down Biden’s attempt to force large companies to impose a vaccine-or-test requirement on their workers Thursday afternoon. The Biden administration had sought to apply the mandate to any company with more than 100 employees, but the 6-3 majority ruling limited its scope to the healthcare industry. (RELATED: Hillary 2024 Chatter Picks Up As Biden Approval Hits New Low)
Reporters hounded White House press secretary Jen Psaki to explain where Biden’s first year had gone wrong during a briefing Thursday.
“Frankly, things just seem like they’re going pretty poorly right now for the White House,” a reporter began. “Build Back Better is being blocked, voting rights is being blocked, diplomatic talks with Russia don’t seem to have brought us back from the brink of war, inflation is at a 40-year high, the virus is setting records for infection. So, as we kind of hit this one-year period where everything seems like it’s in pretty rough shape … at what point do you take stock and say that things need to change internally?”
Psaki responded by pointing to the high number of vaccinations under Biden, as well as the falling unemployment rate, before jumping to blame a stagnant Congress for the state of Biden’s presidency.
“When you have a small margin and threshold in the Senate, it’s very difficult to get things done and to get legislation passed,” she said. “The fact that the president, under his leadership, got the American Rescue Plan passed, a bipartisan infrastructure bill with 19 [Republican] votes in the Senate…that’s a path forward for us.”
“So the sense is things are going well. There’s no need for change right now?” the reporter pressed.
“I think that having worked in a White House before, you do hard things in White Houses. You have every challenge laid at your feet, whether it’s global or domestically. We could certainly propose legislation to see if people support bunny rabbits and ice cream, but that wouldn’t be very rewarding to the American people,” Psaki responded.
The first major dent in Biden’s popularity came thanks to the surging border crisis that began early last year and still rages on. Biden’s polling took further hits throughout the summer and fall due to the resurgence of COVID-19, supply chain chaos, rising inflation, as well as his botched withdrawal of the U.S. military from Afghanistan.
Biden’s falling popularity has also been born out in his press availability. Biden held fewer than half as many press conferences in his first year than any five of his most recent predecessors, according to the Associated Press.