Let’s Go Joe (It’s Time for Bold Executive Action)

Wait…what’s executive action?

Every president works with federal agencies to implement the laws that are currently in place. However, each administration has some discretion over what exactly the laws will look like when implemented and interpreted. Essentially, executive action is the current administration giving directives to each of the federal agencies as to what the administration wants them to do. The federal agencies do this by issuing rules, regulations, and policies that further emphasize the administration’s agenda.

So, why haven’t we moved towards pushing for more Administrative Advocacy work before?

Although executive actions are common, and typically happen at a higher volume and frequency than passing legislation, they still come with their own risks. For example, executive actions can be repealed by the next sitting president, and rules and regulations can take a great amount of time to take effect. Congress can pass new laws to limit agency authority, and ultimately some executive actions can be struck down by the courts. The fragility of how long an executive action policy will be in place is the largest reason we have prioritized focusing our capacity on legislation.

With that being said, why focus on pushing Biden right now, when it seems that usually legislation is more effective?

Given the nearly gridlocked Senate right now — like we saw in the fight to reform the filibuster and pass a voting rights bill — it is going to be very difficult to pass major legislation. We’re not giving up, but we also need solutions that aren’t held hostage by dysfunction. It’s within President Biden’s authority to deliver critical proposals like lowering prescription drug prices, canceling student debt, climate action, and much more. But it’s up to us to demand it.

A black and white photo of President Joe Biden smiling with a paint splash and the words, “Let’s Go Joe” over his shoulder plus white text on a reddish pink background that says “What issue would you most like President Biden to use his power as president to address?”
Click here to take our Let’s Go Joe survey.

What sort of executive actions do we hope to see from President Biden?

There are a lot of different actions we could push President Biden to take in this moment. At a high level, we believe that the right set of actions will translate into immediate improvements to people’s lives. We know that progressives in Congress (the same ones who created the progressive voting bloc and fought so hard to get Build Back Better through the House) are developing their own priorities for executive action, and we look forward to fighting alongside them and amplifying their demands in the weeks ahead.

Climate Action

The science is clear that we have very little time left to make the drastic changes needed to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. President Biden needs to use all the tools at his disposal to address the climate crisis. This means supporting a transition to a clean, renewable energy future, ending our reliance on dirty and costly fossil fuels, addressing pollution, and prioritizing investments to frontline communities. President Biden must keep his promise to take bold action to combat climate change and ensure a healthy habitable planet for future generations.

Canceling Student Debt

Over the past 20 years, the price of higher education has been on an exponential rise, all while wages have remained stagnant. Student loan payments have been put on pause due to the pandemic, but that is set to expire on May 1 for the nearly 45 million people holding more than $1.8 trillion in student debt. President Biden must take bold actions such as broadly canceling at least $50k of student debt now.

Hold up — why aren’t we working on doing this with democracy reform?

First, Biden has already done a big one on voting rights! Second, there are other executive actions that we’d support, but we think they’re pretty marginal compared to the larger slate our progressive allies are working on.

Here’s where you come in:

President Biden has the authority to both cancel student debt and declare a climate emergency with the power of this signature. But he needs to hear from us, and from members of Congress (MoC), that we want him to get it done! Throughout this campaign, what we ask you to do is going to depend largely on who your members of Congress are.

  1. If you have a Democratic senator, call and ask them to tell President Biden to take action (Let’s Go Joe!). Your senators and members of Congress (MoCs) wake up every day worried about how they’re going to convince their constituents that they’re working for them. That makes them more accessible — and receptive to outside pressure — than a president. That is why once you have called your senator, call your Representative and ask them the same thing.
  2. If you have a Republican senator or representative or no congressional representation: Advocate with the administration directly. Real talk, calling the White House comment line is A LOT less effective than calling your member of Congress (MoC), BUT being in a red state and telling President Biden that you support bold executive action does give him more cover to say “see these actions are overwhelmingly popular across party lines.”
  3. Take our Let’s Go Joe Executive Action survey. Your responses will help us understand which potential executive actions matter most to our movement and what you’re excited to work on.

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Indivisible Guide

Indivisible Guide

Indivisible is a locally-led, nationally coordinated movement-building progressive power in every state.