White House Chief of Staff Defends Biden’s Record Executive Orders: It’s Not ‘in Lieu of Legislation’

In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, President Joe Biden signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Six of Biden's 17 first-day executive orders dealt with immigration, such as halting work on a border wall in Mexico and lifting a travel ban …
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

White House chief of staff Ron Klain is defending President Joe Biden, who in his first week in office signed more executive orders than any of his predecessors, contending that such excessive, unilateral actions are necessary as the administration is attempting to “fix what Trump broke in the executive branch.”

“We are not taking executive action in lieu of legislation,” Klain explained as critics note the sheer volume of the orders Biden has signed in his first week in office, besting all of his predecessors.

“We are taking executive action to fix what Trump broke in the executive branch, and to keep the President’s commitments to use his power — within appropriate limits — to make progress on four crises,” he added:

As of January 27, Biden had signed 40 “executive orders, actions, and memorandums” covering a range of issues from immigration to the coronavirus, according to CNN’s running tally. He is expected to add to the list on Thursday, taking action to expand Obamacare and Medicaid.

On Wednesday, Biden signed an executive order banning new oil and gas leases on federal land. Broadly speaking, the order puts the “climate crisis at the center of United States foreign policy and national security.”

“Since his first day in office, @POTUS has signed dozens of executive actions without consulting Congress,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said on Wednesday, adding that he remains “deeply concerned about the impact these decisions will have on our country”:

Six GOP attorneys general sent a cautionary letter to Biden this week, expressing concern that he “may be following the unfortunate path of executive unilateralism” given the flurry of executive actions he has taken in the first week in office alone. They warned that they are watching and will take legal action if his administration or federal agencies overstep their constitutional authority, emphasizing that “overreaching and defying Congress will not be rewarded or succeed.”

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