We knew it was going to happen.
Without the flood of news-ready chaos generated by the Trump administration, the New York Times was going to have to dig deep to find something to complain about with Joe Biden. And here it is, an editorial entitled 'Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe".
But this is no way to make law. A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation. They are intended to provide guidance to the government and need to work within the discretion granted the executive by existing law or the Constitution. They do not create new law — though executive orders carry the force of law — and they are not meant to serve as an end run around the will of Congress. By design, such actions are more limited in what they can achieve than legislation, and presidents who overreach invite intervention by the courts.
But legal limitations are not the only — or even perhaps the biggest — point of concern. Executive actions are far more ephemeral and easily discarded than legislation, which can set up a whipsaw effect, as each president scrambles to undo the work of his predecessor. Just as Mr. Trump set about reversing as many of President Barack Obama’s directives as possible, Mr. Biden is now working to reverse many of Mr. Trump’s reversals. With executive orders, there is always another presidential election just a few years off, threatening to upend everything.
This creates instability and uncertainty that can carry significant economic as well as human costs. Just consider how the Dreamers, immigrants illegally brought to the United States as minors, have had their lives disrupted in recent years. Mr. Obama established DACA to protect them from deportation. Upon taking office, Mr. Trump moved to end the program, setting off years of legal challenges and throwing these people’s lives into a nightmarish limbo. Mr. Biden now has moved to reaffirm the protections. The fragility of the Dreamers’ status has been laid bare. Presidents have wide latitude, both constitutionally and statutorily, to set immigration policy. But Dreamers deserve better than to be subject to the whims of whoever holds the White House. It is long past time for Congress to establish a clearer, more permanent path for them.
Let me think. Hmm. Is there perhaps some reason Joe Biden isn't counting on legislation to get things done?
Undoing some of Mr. Trump’s excesses is necessary, but Mr. Biden’s legacy will depend on his ability to hammer out agreements with Congress. On the campaign trail, he often touted his skill at finding compromise, and his decades as a legislator, as reasons to elect him over Mr. Trump. The country faces significant challenges to recovering from the pandemic, from a global recession, from years of safety nets and institutions and trust being eroded. Now it is time for the new president to show the American people what permanent change for a better nation can look like.
Oh! Congress! Let's see, who would be obstructing progess in Congress?
I'm tired of this game. The Times op-ed board knows who the bad guys are, but in their eagerness to prove "both sides" is the hill on which they'll die, they produce an editorial that, without relevant context, is just plain silly -- like much of their coverage.