In one of the most predictable political developments of 2021, President Joe Biden and his allies in the Democratic Party are no longer appalled at the thought of a president making sweeping policy changes via executive order.
Democrats repeatedly criticized former president Donald Trump's use of executive action, and Biden often cited Trump's fondness for executive authority as a key difference between the two candidates during the 2020 election.
"I have this strange notion. We are a democracy," Biden said during a town hall event in October, while dismissing the notion that "if you can get the votes, by executive order you're going to do … things you can't do by executive order unless you're a dictator." Legislating in a democracy requires "consensus," he argued.
Easier said than done, apparently. As of this week, Biden has signed 28 executive orders, more than twice as many as Trump did during the first month of his presidency. Only President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed more (30) during his first month in office, and Biden still has a couple weeks left to break that record.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are preparing to jam through a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package using the controversial process known as reconciliation. It's possible, if not likely, that the measure will pass with zero Republican support, along with a tie-breaking vote in the Senate cast by Vice President Kamala Harris. How's that for "consensus"?