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Capitol in Washington, on Jan. The Biden's are spending a few days in Rehoboth Beach to celebrate first lady Jill Biden's 70th birthday. Biden announced the withdrawal of the remainder of U. Capitol in Washington. For Biden, it's been a year of lofty ambitions grounded by the unrelenting pandemic, a tough hand in Congress, a harrowing end to a foreign war and rising fears for the future of democracy itself.

Biden did score a public-works achievement for the ages. In this midterm election year, Biden confronts seething divisions and a Republican Party that propagates the delusion that the election, validated as fair many times over, was stolen from Donald Trump. That central, mass lie of a rigged vote has become a pretext in state after state for changing election rules and fueling even further disunity and grievance.

In the dispiriting close of Biden's first year, roadblocks stood in the way of all big things pending. The Supreme Court blocked his vaccinate-or-test mandate for most large employers. Monthly payments to families that had slashed child poverty ran out Friday , with no assurance they will be renewed. Biden's historic initiative to shore up the social safety net wallowed in Congress.

And people under 40 have never seen inflation like this. After his lacerating speech in Atlanta invoking the darkest days of segregation, he saw his voting-rights legislation run aground when Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona announced her opposition to changing Senate rules to allow the bill to pass by a simple majority. For all of that, Barack Obama was on to something when he paid his old vice president an odd compliment late in the campaign. Elect Joe Biden, he said, and after four years of flamboyant Trump dramas, folks could feel safe ignoring their president and vice president for a spell.

Indeed America saw normalcy, some say dignity, return to the White House. Pets came back and so did daily press briefings for the public. The Trump-era political muzzle came off public-health authorities, freeing them to confuse the public all on their own. The discipline, drive and baseline competence from the new White House produced notable . Biden won a bipartisan infrastructure package that had eluded his two predecessors, coming away with a legacy-shaping fix for the rickety pillars of industry and society.

Biden steered more judges through Congress to the federal bench than any recent predecessor. He won approval of a Cabinet that was half women and a minority of white people for the first time. More than 6 million people are back at work and half a billion COVID vaccines have been put in arms, but the nation has a long way to go to return to its pre-pandemic state.

Matthew Delmont, a civil rights historian at Dartmouth, expected more from Biden by virtue of his decades of experience as a savvy operator in the capital. He had anticipated a far more effective COVID response and more urgency, sooner, in countering the rollback of voting rights and tilting of election rules that Republicans are attempting.

In Biden, Jillson sees a leader who brought the even keel that Obama had talked about but also one who only rarely delivers a speech worth remembering. In large measure, Biden's innate civility and predictability brought the sort of climate change that the world could get behind. Here once more was a president who believed deeply in alliances and vowed to repair an American reputation frayed by the provocateur in office before him. There would be no more puzzling feelers about buying Greenland. No more doting looks at Russian President Vladimir Putin — instead, Biden stepped up diplomatic confrontation over Putin's des on Ukraine.

There would be no eerie uplit gatherings around glowing orbs with rulers of dissent-crushing Arab countries like Trump's photo op with the Saudis. But the world also witnessed Biden's debacle in Afghanistan, a chaotic withdrawal that brought more than , to safety but stranded thousands of desperate Afghans who had been loyal to the U. He then blamed Afghans for all that went wrong. Millions of Afghans face the threat of famine in the first winter following the Taliban takeover. All presidents enter the world's most powerful office buoyed by their victory only to confront its limitations in time.

For Biden, that happened sooner than for most. A polarized public, Trump's impeachment trial and an evenly divided Senate saw to that. Meantime, day after day, event after event, it was the virus that commanded Biden's attention. Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID tests per month for people on their plans.

A temporary falloff in the of gun deaths is over; a study shows a link between a COVID vaccination and a change in menstrual cycle length; and more health news. LONDON AP — Boris Johnson's office apologized to the royal family on Friday for holding staff parties in Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral last year — the latest in a catalogue of allegedly lockdown-breaching gatherings that are threatening to topple the British prime minister. End the pandemic. Get the economy back on track. Log in up Become a Member. Continue reading your article with a digital subscription.

Already a subscriber? Log in or Activate your . No thanks, return to home. Edit Close. Log In Subscribe Now. My Logout. Just In. After Biden's first year, the virus and disunity rage on. Share this. Andrew Harnik - pool, AP Pool. Susan Walsh - staff, AP. Andrew Harnik - staff, AP.

Evan Vucci - staff, AP. Patrick Semansky - staff, AP. David J. Phillip - staff, AP. Patrick Semansky - pool, AP Pool. Watch Now: Related Video. Watch Now: Tips for taking better smartphone photos. Do we really gain weight in the winter? PennyWise Episode Four issues that can impact your home and wallet during the winter months. Poll: Coffee drinkers don't change their drinks easily. up! Related to this story. Most Popular. Buffalo attorney teaches new UB law school class on mental health, well-being.

Updated Jan 14, National News. Health roundup: Gun deaths on the rise, vaccine linked to menstrual cycle changes, and more. Jan 10, Jan 11, Tool, J. Cole, Stevie Nicks to headline Bonnaroo music fest.

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