This article originally appeared in The American prospectus
On July 8th, the Joe Biden campaign published the results of their unit working groups with the former Bernie Sanders campaign in a 110-page policy advice document. While Biden has not committed to implementing the guidelines recommended by the Task Forces, they provide a clear vision of what a Biden presidency might look like.
While each task force has proposed new laws to achieve their goals, you can also read the document with a view to what a Biden administration could accomplish day onewithout having to go anywhere near the Congress. To this end, we found 277 guidelines that are clearly within the power of the executive, at least in part, to be followed immediately.
Taken alone, none of these 277 policies will fully resolve any of the interconnected crises we are now facing. But they can make an important contribution to immediate harm reduction. Some can even solve longstanding problems by simply enforcing or fully implementing existing laws.
Perhaps most importantly, all of these guidelines are ideas that the leaders of the moderate and progressive wings of the party largely agree on and that Biden should have no excuse for not implementing them, apart from his own political preferences. There is no hiding behind Congress on these issues. In Biden’s first hundred days, we should expect him to have made significant strides on many, if not all, of these proposals. Those he does not accept and vigorously persecute will be his nature as President.
Not all suggestions are new ideas. In fact, 48 are just calls to reverse Trump-era policies or reintroduce the Obama-era rules and committees that Trump ended or dissolved. Any even remotely competent Democrat should be able to implement them immediately, regardless of their particular political vision.
Of those 48 Trump policies that the document seeks to reverse, 28 are changes in immigration policy. The overrepresentation of immigration issues speaks to the scale and horror of Trump and Stephen Miller’s xenophobic project.
Each of the six unitary task forces proposed guidelines for the executive branch. From most to very few the subject areas were:
- Immigration (79 guidelines)
- Climate change (56 guidelines)
- The economy (55 policies)
- Education (39 guidelines)
- Criminal Justice (36 Directives)
- Healthcare (27 policies)
Some guidelines result from the simple exercise of the legal discretion available to the administration. What if instead of facilitating the golden age of white-collar crime, Has Biden’s Attorney General prosecuted Big Oil for violating the pollution law and “aggressively prosecuted” employers who steal wages, break labor laws, misclassify workers, or defraud their taxes? What if they moved marijuana and ordered federal drug authorities not to pursue marijuana cases? What if the Justice Department resumed the Obama-era “pattern or practice” investigation of racist law enforcement agencies and then expanded the practice to include prosecutors and other criminal justice actors? Each of these guidelines is contained in the standard document.
While the Biden camp isn’t ready to hug yet lump-sum forgiveness of the federal student loan, calls for the document to suspend interest and monthly billing for those earning less than $ 25,000, to cancel the debts of the permanently disabled, and to forgive the students exploited by predatory schools. It also finally lays down clear rules for automatic enrollment in the Public Sector Loans Program, and expressly points to the termination of the treaty of the federal government Navient.
That brings us to the federal treaty powers. The document calls for a “Buy Clean” program to mandate the government to buy clean energy that is produced with high labor standards. It also calls for a general prioritization of contracts with small businesses owned by women, veterans and people of color. These owners take better care of their workers, however, as Biden can require labor law compliance to be factored into every federal contract decision (which somehow wasn’t a factor). He can also exclude any company that outsources jobs, busts unions, or doesn’t offer a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour from doing business with the federal government.
But most exciting for some is the evidence that Democrats are dusting their copies of the American legal code and looking for forgotten powers that are already on the books. Antitrust enforcement has moved from being a non-issue to being central: the task force calls for a full review of Trump-era mergers and acquisitions and action against those “harming workers, raising prices, exacerbating racial inequality, or” less competition ”. This is a direct appeal to antitrust law, out of the shackles of the Consumer protection standard.
The unified task force also wants public data on the police use of violence data, which the Justice Department is supposed to collect anyway, but never really. Maybe that will change soon. Several task forces also called for aggressive enforcement of the Americans With Disabilities Act; Many activists have pondered over the past few days that their promises were never fully implemented, and some Democrats seem to be listening.
Of course there is also discrimination within the federal bureaucracy itself. The Department of Agriculture’s terrible civil rights record was the subject of Investigations and Hearings since at least 1999. The task force document contains a number of thoughtful reforms to the USDA, from greater independence for the civil rights department to reforming a legalization process that banned farmers of color from giving away their property.
We anticipate that these agencies and departments will be most involved in the implementation of the 277 guidelines (from most to a few):
- Department of Homeland Security (59 guidelines)
- Ministry of Justice (56 guidelines)
- Executive Office of the President (37 policies)
- Ministry of Labor (26 guidelines)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (21 guidelines)
- Ministry of Energy (17 guidelines)
- Ministry of Agriculture (15 guidelines)
- Housing and Urban Development Department (13 policies)
- Environmental Protection Agency (13 guidelines)
As the Biden transition team begins to send “beach heads” to the authorities and would-be officers fight for influence, we hope that this brief guide will help the executives of an aspiring Biden administration to organize themselves mentally for the task at hand. There is an overwhelming amount of Trumpian corruption that needs to be eradicated, and we are facing so many overlapping existential threats that we have no time to procrastinate. Biden’s transition needs to be prepared as well in advance as possible in order to make major policy changes on the day of inauguration.