WASHINGTON — Amid mounting criticism of his record-pace executive order blitz — including from liberal media outlets like the New York Times — President Biden refused to take questions from reporters on Thursday as he signed two more actions into effect.
The president’s latest orders will open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and ends the “Mexico City Policy” which bans US federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling.
“Today I’m about to sign two executive orders to, basically, the best way to describe them, undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden told pool reporters.
In a bid to undue initiatives of the previous Trump administration, Biden has signed a record 37 executive actions in his first week in office.
But the aggressive actions have seen the president catch heat from some of his biggest allies, including The Times, which on Thursday urged Biden to “ease up” and instead legislate via the narrowly-divided Congress.
Executive actions can be easily reversed by the following commander in chief.
“[T] his 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,” the Times editorial board wrote in an op-ed published Thursday.
“These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell last week said Biden’s EO blitz was the “wrong direction” while even Biden himself appeared to be against presidential overuse of executive actions.
“We are a democracy,” Biden said during a town hall with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on the campaign trail in October.
“Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democratic friends even occasionally say, ‘Well, if you can’t get the votes, by executive order, you’re going to do something,’” he went on.
“Things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus,” he said.
Last week, Kay James, the president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said she was disappointed by the “unprecedented scope” of Biden’s orders.
“Executive actions short circuit the democratic process by cutting out Congress and leaving no room for debate or dissent,” James said in a statement.
As he signed two more orders in the space of two minutes on Thursday, Biden refused to take shouted questions from reporters as they were hustled out of the Oval Office.
“We’ve got a lot to do and the first thing I’ve got to do is get this COVID package passed,” he said of his enormous $1.9 trillion rescue package which Republicans have already bristled at.