Document Offers Tantalizing Preview of a Sanders Administration
While former Vice President Joe Biden still leads the Democratic field nationally, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has pulled ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Politico reports that he’s now receiving the kinds of political attacks typically associated with “front-runner status.” It’s a label the Vermont senator appears willing to embrace, as a new internal document reveals his campaign is already preparing dozens of executive orders if he’s elected president.
According to Jeff Stein and Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post, Sanders is considering a raft of bold, palliative measures that include “unilaterally allowing the United States to import prescription drugs from Canada; directing the Justice Department to legalize marijuana; and declaring climate change a national emergency while banning the exportation of crude oil. Other options cited in the document include canceling federal contracts for firms paying less than $15 an hour and reversing federal rules blocking U.S. funding to organizations that provide abortion counseling.”
The 2020 hopeful has already pledged to repeal President Donald Trump’s “racist” immigration policy on his first day in office. Per the Post, this could include immediately halting construction of the border wall, removing the current administration’s limit on refugees and reinstating the Obama-era legal status of Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
“The unilateral actions considered by Sanders’ campaign are likely to be fiercely opposed by conservatives and even moderate liberals, and Sanders could face criticism for moving to take more power away from the legislative branch amid ever-expanding executive authority,” Stein and Sullivan note. “Many Democrats and some Republicans have criticized Trump for the numerous executive orders he signed in the early part of his presidency.”
Unlike Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sanders has expressed reticence about nuking the filibuster for ambitious legislation like a Green New Deal and Medicare for All, signaling his preference for budget reconciliation — a means by which select spending bills are passed with a simple 50-vote majority in the Senate. The sweep of the orders currently under consideration suggests he’s willing to exercise the raw power of the executive office as well.
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