It’s common for branches of government to compete for jurisdiction over certain policy matters.
When it comes to major legislative policy issues, for the last few decades Congress has too often either relinquished its decision-making authority outright or punted it to the courts in order to avoid political responsibility. Over time, the Executive branch has increased its power and authority to the point that it is now commonplace for the President to attempt to exercise powers beyond which is granted in the Constitution. Below are just a few examples of the Biden Administration’s overreach and how federal agencies are side-stepping Congress.
One of Joe Biden’s most prominent campaign promises in 2020 was to halt construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that was permitted in 2019 by the Trump Administration. On May 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14030 unilaterally halting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would have created 11,000 jobs and brought much-needed American-made oil and natural gas to the world market while lowering costs and boosting American energy independence. Who could go for some mean tweets and $2 gas right now? Since 2011, Congress has passed dozens of pieces of legislation and held several votes authorizing the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a 2019 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.
It was recently announced that the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) is considering a rule that could raise rail transportation shipping costs. Mark Jamison, a former consultant for the American Association of Railroads, writes, “At issue is a policy called reciprocal switching, where a company shipping something by freight rail obtains access to a competing railroad’s track, equipment and facilities for transport between two points generally served by only one competing railroad. If experiences with similar regulations in telecommunications are any guide, the shippers are wrong. What’s likely to happen instead is a decline in rail service, that will increase shipping costs.”
One of the boldest headline-grabbing acts of overreach by the Biden White House (to date) is Executive Order 14042, the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate on American workers and small businesses issued on September 9, 2021. The order would have mandated all large companies to require vaccination or negative-test results for their employees, a gross overreach of the federal government’s authority. Fortunately, in January the Supreme Court blocked the order from taking effect, and a federal appeals court ruling in February declined to undo the stay, halting the executive order from taking full effect. American Enterprise Institute Nonresident Senior Fellow John Yoo judiciously makes the case as to why Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is unconstitutional, writing “Even if the president could find some source of authority granted by Congress to regulate all businesses, he could not enforce his orders with federal power alone.”
To be fair, several Congresses going back nearly 40 years are all partly responsible for creeping Executive overreach. The examples above are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Congressional Democrats are calling for even more executive actions from the Biden White House, which is outrageous to any objective observer living in the current economy. The amount of White House executive orders, federal agency rules, and other guidance released by President Biden illustrate an administration intoxicated with power and the Democratic party’s need to control the daily lives of Americans. It will take a new President in 2024 to reverse President Biden’s executive overreach and restore sanity to the federal agencies.
Bob Carlstrom is President of AMAC Action
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