Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week
A couple of weeks ago, Night Owls excerpted David Dayen’s important September 2019 essay at The American Prospect titled The Day One Agenda: The Next Administration—Using Presidential Power for Good. Here’s an excerpt from his post-election follow-up—The Day One Agenda: Now More Than Ever:
[…] Some political leaders understand that presidents have a lot of power even when they’re not signing bills into law. In a pre-election interview with Anand Giridharadas, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the first hundred days of a Biden administration should rival FDR’s, specifically through executive action: “Getting rid of student debt,” Schumer said, “I have a proposal with Elizabeth Warren that the first $50,000 of debt be vanquished, and we believe that Joe Biden can do that with the pen as opposed to legislation.” That would mirror the Day One Agenda proposal to cancel all publicly-held student debt, something the Education Department can do under “compromise and settlement” authority that derives from the Higher Education Act.
It’s gratifying that even high-ranking Democratic officials are thinking about the creative actions to make the presidency successful regardless of the makeup of Congress. This should have always been their mindset, but better late than never. Importantly, we’re not talking here only about “executive orders,” which have limited reach and dubious staying power. We’re talking about implementing laws duly passed by Congress in ways that match the job description of a president. The existing authority is simply more powerful than most people think.
At the time that we wrote the Day One Agenda, we did consider whether the Supreme Court would have the ability to reverse these actions and stymie the Day One Agenda. With the Court’s new 6-to-3 conservative majority, that concern is even more acute. But that can’t be a reason to avoid all executive action implementing already-passed laws. Besides, if you use these powers to give tangible benefits for the public, the Court, which at least is aware of public opinion, will have to think twice about whether to spend political capital taking them away.
Democrats, at long last, have to try to make progress—and the Day One Agenda gives them that potential. Over the next several weeks, we will be adding to our list of what the Biden administration can do without passing new laws. And we will keep tabs on the 277 executive actions that came out of the Biden-Sanders unity task force documents, and how many the incoming administration will actually carry out.
The Day One Agenda took on new importance because of the election, but in reality it was always important, because it was always in the realm of a president’s powers. It’s gratifying that the dominant media has begun to understand this, and they can follow our lead in examining the results.
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
- A convergence of calamities: Record numbers of war-displaced to be dwarfed by those driven from their homes by climate change, by Nick Turse. How will we cope with 1.2 billion people — nearly the population of China or India — likely to be displaced in the next 30 years?
- The Prosperity Hoax, by Tom Stevenson.
The world is awash in happy talk about poverty.
- The New Kids: The Squad Is Bigger Than Ever, by Sarah Jones. Progressives made House gains. You wouldn’t know from how colleagues talk about them.
“The legalization of marijuana is not a dangerous experiment – the prohibition is the experiment, and it has failed dramatically, with millions of victims all around the world.”
At Daily Kos on this date in 2017—Day 47: Still no funding for children’s health, but a $1 billion tax cut for the Trumps:
So this happened today. No, not Republicans deciding they had to take care of the nation’s children and finally passing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. No, not that at all.
This: House Republicans voted on their tax cuts bill that would immediately slash $25 billion from Medicare should it pass the Senate, and would give the wealthy a pretty major cash infusion. Like $1 billion to one specific wealthy family.
In fact, Trump and his heirs potentially could save more than $1 billion overall under the GOP tax proposal that the House of Representatives passed Thursday, with most of that amount coming from a repeal of the estate tax, according to an analysis NBC News commissioned of Trump’s one known 2005 tax return and his estimated net worth.
Nine million children could lose coverage in a matter of weeks. Additionally, 25 million people could lose health care at community health centers, which also haven’t been funded since Sept. 30. States are now preparing letters to send to families to tell them their coverage is going to end. In some states coverage will end next month, in some the month after. So that’s some Christmas greeting for these families to be receiving.
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