Republicans demand Biden use executive orders to do the stuff they can’t

On Thursday, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson sent a very anxious letter to President Joe Biden asking for him to use his executive powers: “I urge you to immediately take executive actions available to you under existing immigration laws to stem the record tide of illegal immigration.” Johnson also demanded Biden return the United States’ border policy back to its previously inhumane iteration under Donald Trump.

As almost every executive order Biden has signed has been met with Republican criticism, this was a new tactic. In fact, it was two whole weeks ago that the very same Mike Johnson was calling the president’s move to forgive another $5 billion of predatory student loan debt “unfair” and “wrong.”

As White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre remarked on Thursday when asked about the speaker’s letter, “I mean, look, we asked for more Border Patrol, right … And you got Republicans in Congress, who, especially in the House, who want to cut back, they actually want to do the opposite of what the President is trying to do. And so look, the President has done everything that he can, right, on his own.”

Of course, the big issue here is that before Johnson became speaker of the House, the Republican Party did nothing productive. Since he prayed his way into that position, they have done even less. To put that into perspective: Under Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House was able to pass 85 bills into law in 2021. That included (the Democratic-driven) landmark infrastructure legislation. The 2023 Republican-led House? 22 bills. Their biggest success seems to have been calling it quits early and hurting our foreign policy relations with allies.

It was just this past May that the Republican-controlled Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on the Biden administration’s “executive overreach.” It was during that hearing that everybody’s nightmare dinner date and subcommittee chairman Paul Gosar of Arizona accused the president of pursuing “a relentless march toward further expansion, particularly by trying to reimagine the energy sector as a puppet of environmental activists and radical climate alarmists. Instead of attempting to work with Congress to pass legislation, Joe Biden has ruled by fiat, abusing executive orders to radically restrict America’s energy independence.”

But that’s just the recent Republican attacks on executive actions. Back when the Biden administration offered up a very modest expansion of HIPAA in order to protect reproductive rights after the dangerously unpopular Supreme Court did away with decades of settled law in Roe v. Wade, Republican attorneys general promised lawsuits.

When Biden attempted to use executive orders to implement gun safety measures to protect Americans, prominent Republicans like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called it a “liberal power grab,” and then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters these new rules would “surely result in unconstitutional overreach.”

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania accused the Biden administration of “abusing” the Defense Production Act when it pushed to increase the manufacturing of clean energy equipment. Toomey couldn’t be found when Donald Trump used the DPA, glibly saying “in case we need it.” 

Finally, when Biden first came into office and signed a slew of executive orders that reversed the previous administration’s terrible mistakes, including Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Republicans had nothing but hand-wringing whines to offer the American people.

The Republican Party has shown itself to be a series of inept and cowardly boobs, unable to govern and pass meaningful legislation to improve American lives. Johnson’s pathetic attempt at getting Biden to bail out his party’s incompetence ends up being a revealing look into why they seem hellbent on crowning Trump king.

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