Progressives in the House are calling for President Biden’s executive power to implement a portion of Democrats’ huge legislative agenda. This was stalled in the Senate this month after Sen. Joe Manchin stated that he could not vote for it.
“Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus’ elected leadership is asking the President and all Democrats who believe that Building Back Better is necessary for climate, care, and immigrants and those seeking economic dignity to come together to deliver for the American people,” said the Congressional Progressive Caucus in a statement.
It continued, “That means a whole-of-government approach.” “In Congress, we will continue to prioritize Build Back Better… In parallel, the White House must continue acting on a parallel track using the President’s powerful tool of executive actions.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Progressive Caucus Chairwoman, stated earlier this week that her hope is that Biden will act on his own to implement certain parts of the reconciliation bill. She stated that “there’s too much at stake” and that the president has the ability to take executive actions.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated Monday that while the White House has not had any significant discussions about taking executive action on the bill, it did not rule out the possibility.
“We have used executive power and executive action to take a variety of steps to make progress, and the president has not hesitated in doing that.” She said that legislation has the benefit of being permanent. “So that’s where there’s a lot of value.”
The White House may not be able to enact specific provisions of the bill on its own. The reconciliation spending bill, by its very nature, appropriates large amounts of additional funding to existing and new federal programs. Biden will have limited authority to pass many of these expensive programs because it is Congress’ responsibility to appropriate funds. These actions could lead to lawsuits claiming that the president exceeded his authority.
Previous presidents had limited power and were able to pass important policies via executive actions. Sometimes, they found a way to divert money from one government part to another. This was done by former President Donald Trump to raise money for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
As Congress continues to search for the votes necessary to pass the ambitious Democratic agenda, the Progressive Caucus stated that it will detail the actions the White House should and can take.
It stated that the Progressive Caucus would soon release a comprehensive plan of action. This will include an immediate focus on actions to lower costs, protect the health and well-being of all Americans in these times of rising Omicron cases, as well as show the world that America is serious regarding climate leadership.
It stated that such executive action would help deliver as much of the Democrats’ agenda as possible in a timely manner while emphasizing that Democrats are serious and committed to implementing their plans.
The progressives stated that “The legislative approach, although essential, is not certain of its timing or results — and they simply cannot wait to deliver tangible relief for people that they can feel, and will make an impact in their lives, and livelihoods.” We also believe that executive actions will be clear to those who continue to block the legislative path and put obstacles in their way so that they can deliver relief to people immediately.