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Why Are You Doing It Joe?
Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert
Washington, DC
Tuesday, February 2, 2021


Why Are You Doing It Joe?

By Margaret Orchowski

As a congressional journalist for almost 15 years now, i have considered newly installed President Biden to be a "man of the Senate" who doesn't believe in imperial presidencies. He is on record for opposing executive orders and for advocating that complicated issues like immigration should be legislated in a democratic process of compromise. So I really believed that Biden would not issue many executive orders during his term.


How wrong could I be!  In Biden's first ten days of office he has signed more executive actions than any president before him.


The Democrats and the press say he is overturning Republican "draconian" immigration, foreign relations and energy policies immediately as he promised.  But executive orders as Biden himself has pointed out, do not have the authority or sustainability of laws. They can only regulate actions of executive branch agencies with allocated budgets. They are a weak way to make policy.


Executive orders can be blocked by a single federal judge applying a universal injunction if considered to inflict immediate significant harm to thousands of people (as Democrats did for years to block DACA and other Trump immigration restriction orders). They also can be challenged in the Supreme Court as an unconstitutional usurpation of power (the executive branch trying to legislate, etc). They also can be rescinded by the next president. 


Biden knows all this very well.   So why has he done this?


The only explanation I can think of is that liberal Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Chuck Schumer are terrified that almost no legislation that they have promised their far left liberal base, can pass. Their Democratic vote margins are just too thin.


In the highly partisan Senate, Schumer cannot lose a single Democratic vote or he won't even have a 50-50 split for VicePresident Kamala Harris to tie-break.  Conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WVa) and others already have said they would not support doing away with the filibuster.


On her side of Congress, Pelosi can only lose four Democratic votes or she loses her majority. She only has 222 Democrats in the House and she needs 218 to pass anything. Yet there are 18 "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House caucus who are fiscally conservative and oppose raising the national debt any more. Many are against any coronavirus relief bill not less a $2 TRILLION one that's spends a good portion on non-COVID related far left projects.


Plus remember!  Pelosi only won her leadership position by two votes. Her far left "squad" held off their votes until the last minute. One has to wonder what Pelossi promised them for their votes: to "Go Big" and push Biden to sign multiple executive orders that support their agenda in the first weeks in office?


So I take these numerous far left leaning executive orders by Biden as a risky strategic move by Democratic leaders who know they only have three to six months to assure their liberal base they support a big far left agenda, before their moderate base demands compromises. They are hoping that some of the executive orders will stick and keep the left from abandoning them.


But the Dems are taking a big chance. The entire strategy could backfire. Everyone could end up feeling betrayed.


It could take months for many of these orders to be administered. Biden is signing aggressive executive orders before even his agency heads are approved and their bureaucratic appointed directors are even chosen not less settled into their offices. And old bureaucrats know how to delay things to assert their own power.


Biden also can end up looking disingenuous. Many people including establishment Republicans voted for Biden because they thought he was centrist and reasonable, willing to negotiate and compromise. Now he's already blown that image. 


Moderate Democrats thought he would hold strong against the radical left.  But his aggressive executive orders in his first week of office create grave doubts about that image.


The likelihood that Democrats could lose their razor thin majorities in both the House and the Senate in 2022, grows with each Biden executive order.



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“We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been”. Vice President of the Brookings Institution Darrell West wrote in recommending Peggy Sands Orchowski’s books   "The Law That Changed The Face of America: The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965" and  "Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 and 2008 respectively).  Peggy is a credentialed Senior Congressional journalist in Washington DC. She is available for interviews, article assignments and speaking engagements about immigration   porchowski@hotmail.com

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