Biden’s America: Executive Actions, Policy and More – The Good, Bad and Ugly

UPDATED 3/26/21:
Well, friends, it has been quite a while. This update comes more than a month after the article was originally written. It appears we are finally free of the shadowban that had suppressed much of our political content. Thankfully, we are back in business and, though much later than expected, today we invite you to pick up where you left off on our exploration of Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.

A lot has happened in the last month and, as we speak, the Biden administration is completely engrossed in its efforts to address the ever-growing crisis at the nation’s southern border. Obviously, there will be more on the topic of immigration as we explore the remaining collection of Biden’s executive actions (68 as of today) as well as other issues currently on the administration’s radar.


2/6/2021

Over the course of the last week and a half, Biden penned an additional 14 executive actions. Several of these actions have been cited as hot button topics, and as is customary, you will find our “controversy alert” marking those topics which have caused a considerable stir in the press on both sides of the aisle.

January 27th marked another action-packed day on the Hill. The day resulted in three additional executive actions, including a moratorium on oil and gas drilling. But first, we would be remiss not to mention that during the president’s morning briefing, he likely learned that, on Tuesday, a total of forty-five Senate Republicans backed an effort to dismiss Trump’s second impeachment trial. Nancy Pelosi continues to push the trial, despite President Trump’s almost-guaranteed acquittal.

We speculate that, as he sipped his morning coffee, President Biden may have also learned that a federal judge in Texas had already placed a block on his 100-day deportation moratorium. The judge ruled to suspend the policy for a minimum of two weeks in response to a challenge by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit suggests that Biden’s moratorium is a violation of immigration law and an existing legal agreement between the state of Texas and the federal government.

In other news, security officials at the U.S. Capitol have issued public statements of apology for their failure to adequately handle the crowds, acknowledging that they knew, in advance, that the crowds would be massive and diverse, and also indicated that they had intel suggesting several radical groups planned to attend the event and would be mixed among the masses of traditional Trump supporters.  The statement admitted that Capitol police did not respond adequately. In a statement, the newly-appointed Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman (the first African American and the first female to hold the role) apologized for security “failings” on January 6th.

CONTROVERSY ALERT

  • On January 27th, Biden signed an executive order that placed a pause on all new oil and gas leasing and drilling on U.S. lands and in U.S. waters. The order is designed to elevate climate change to a matter of national security as well as a foreign policy priority.

The move received rave reviews from environmentalists and the most staunch advocates of climate change reform among Democrats. Some environmentalists believe that oil and gas drilling is responsible for a large part of the United States’ carbon emissions.

However, the decision received harsh criticism from those involved in the oil and gas industry, from the top down. Since the decision came on the heels of Biden’s choice to shut down the Keystone pipeline, a decision that immediately ended tens of thousands of jobs and has since resulted in the near bankruptcy of several small towns in South Dakota, many people have begun to ask questions about how the president’s decision will affect the United States from an economic standpoint, as well as from a jobs standpoint – particularly during a time when covid-related unemployment is a major concern.

The moratorium is currently set to last sixty days but could be extended. Several states immediately began discussions of legal action and may file lawsuits against the Biden administration. Economists have predicted that the order, particularly if extended, will result in billions of dollars of economic loss and will kill tens of thousands of American jobs.

In response to the decision, oil and gas prices jumped sharply almost overnight. Between January 28th and February 4th the cost of crude oil climbed nearly five dollars per barrel. Without drilling in the United States, the nation, predictably, becomes more dependent on foreign supplies of oil and gas. As such, the price for crude oil has seen a steady climb. Several economists and market researchers have predicted that the cost of gas and oil in the United States will continue to climb.

While environmentalists are pleased that Biden has chosen to draw a line in the sand, essentially forcing the nation to consider more green energy options, critics say that Biden is single-handedly throwing away America’s energy independence by enforcing a policy that shuts down one of America’s most lucrative industries, without having an alternative solution in place.

  • President Biden also signed an executive order to reinstate the president’s council of advisors on science and technology (PCAST).

The organization dates back to the George H.W. Bush administration and is designed in two-year term cycles. President Trump waited until later in his term to name his PCAST Council and that counsel was still in place until President Biden’s new executive order. Typically, these councils are established by Executive Order so each president can choose his or her councilmembers. As such, Biden’s decision comes as little surprise.

  • Finally, on January 27, in keeping with his efforts to restore public trust in the government, President Biden took executive action in the form of a memorandum directing all facets of his administration to make evidence-based decisions through the application of science and data.

Biden’s memorandum went on to say that if and when scientific or technological information is considered when making policy decisions, that information should first be subjected to established scientific processes and peer review “where feasible and appropriate.” The memorandum also suggests that political interference in the work of federal scientists or scientists who support the work of the federal government contributes to “systemic inequities and injustices” in the United States.

There has been very little pushback concerning the memorandum. However, Biden’s critics do say that suggesting the American people and their government representatives should not openly question the authority of federal scientists is unconstitutional. Additionally, critics say that the memorandum simply seeks to suppress any scrutiny the American people may place on governmental authority by suggesting that, in doing so, they are contributing to systemic injustice. A number of right-leaning outlets have suggested that this executive action, as well as many others under the Biden administration, uses race-baiting in an effort to suppress public criticism.

it remains to be seen how President Biden’s memorandum will play out in a practical sense. However, it stands to reason that, as he pushes forward with his covid vaccine responsibilities, as well as his effort to mitigate carbon emissions, we will see more from his science and technology council.

If you need to revisit any of the prior executive orders, you can find previous articles at The Hot Mess Press.

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