Cooper, Biden’s Executive Action Overreach

February 2, 2021

We certainly didn’t see this one coming. In an editorial a week or so ago, the News and Observer responded to a statement by NC Senate Leader Phil Berger calling for changes in how long and how broadly a governor can exercise emergency power with the headline, “Set A Limit On Emergency Powers in NC.”

The editorial quoted Berger as saying, “…I do think the Governor’s exercise of emergency powers is inconsistent with what our system of government would expect… I would like to see some changes.”

Then it went on to opine, “the General Assembly’s parochial rivalry with the executive has been joined by national concerns about how long emergency power should supersede the standard checks and balances of democracy.”

And that “the governor shouldn’t insist on open-ended emergency powers. After a fixed period set by statute, the legislature should be able to end or modify those powers. In many states, the governor’s emergency powers are limited to a fixed period or subject to being ended by the legislature at any time.”

Well now. It’s not often we say it, but cheers to the N&O folks for clear-headed thinking. This isn’t about partisanship – this is about good government.

And while we’re on the subject of executive action run amok – did you see the New York Times editorial the other day on President Biden’s non-stop Executive Order parade?

It called Biden on the carpet with its headline, “Ease Up On The Executive Actions, Joe” and went on to say:

“…this is no way to make law. A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation. They are intended to provide guidance to the government and need to work within the discretion granted the executive by existing law or the Constitution. They do not create new law — though executive orders carry the force of law — and they are not meant to serve as an end run around the will of Congress.”

For the record, President Joe Biden has signed more Executive Orders than his two predecessors in the first 12 days of his presidency.  I know – that’s kind of shocking. More than Obama.  More than Trump.

Biden gave the impression he would take steps to bring our country together in unity. Instead of leading by showing the ability to compromise with Congress – the right way to exhibit a willingness for unity – he’s chosen to bypass Congress with executive action. By the power of the pen.

It’s not the right signal to the American people. Instead, it is clear evidence that Biden’s hollow words in the campaign were just more of his long-time penchant for doublespeak.

This kind of executive overreach is out of control at the state and federal level. Our system of checks and balances, envisioned and put in our Constitution by the Founding Fathers, has worked well for over two hundred years.

The belief by this governor and president that they can tap into some kind of inflated power of personal discretion and thumb their nose at the legislative branch is no way to bring the good people of our state and country into a better trust of their government.