September 20, 2022

Biden Administration Put on Notice Over Its Executive Action Overreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith (MO-08) and House Appropriations Committee Republican Leader Kay Granger (TX-12) put the Biden Administration on notice today that its attempts to skirt Congressional authority through Executive Branch rulemaking is unacceptable and unconstitutional, in a letter sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Smith and Granger cite the Biden Administration’s recent attempts to impose vaccine or testing mandates through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and an eviction moratorium via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – both representing sweeping expansions of Executive Branch authority which Congress never approved and that fail to hold muster in a court of law.

“Time and again, President Biden has seized power outside of the bounds of the Constitution and the law. While the American people are struggling to put food on their tables and gas in their cars, the Biden Administration has pursued egregious and expensive executive actions, like single handedly canceling up to $1 trillion in student loan debt for wealthy borrowers and increasing spending by $250 billion on food stamps without notifying Congress,” said House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith. “So far, Biden has spent more than $1 trillion by himself through executive actions to advance a radical agenda, and Americans are paying for it through higher prices and higher taxes.

“Federal agencies under the Biden Administration have engaged in a flurry of executive actions and rulemaking – issuing nearly 100 Executive Orders and approving more major rules than any recent President,” continued House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith. “While Congressional Democrats have been more than willing to look the other way, Republicans will continue to hold the Biden Administration accountable for going around the checks and balances set up in the Constitution and which were most recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA.”

In its recent ruling in West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court said executive actions with “economic and political significance” must have “clear Congressional authority.” In their letter, Smith and Granger highlight President Biden’s executive actions that have been overturned because he lacked the authority:

“Recently, the Court struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s attempt to impose an eviction moratorium and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s attempt to impose a vaccine or testing mandate. In West Virginia v. EPA, the Court made clear that such reliance on the administrative state will no longer be allowed. To be clear, ‘the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws passed by the people’s representatives.’”

President Biden’s latest executive actions cost hundreds of billions and are major rewrites of laws passed by Congress. Smith and Granger point out that his executive actions on student loan cancellation and increasing spending on the Thrifty Food Plan by $250 billion were done without any understood authority:

Of particular concern to our members are recent announcements using taxpayer funds to cancel student loan debts, with no published legal or regulatory analysis; and a recent determination by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the Administration made an undisclosed decision in 2021 to increase government outlays by over $250 billion over ten years by updating the Thrifty Food Plan—which establishes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit amounts —without notice to Congress in contravention of the Congressional Review Act.

The letter seeks answers from the Office of Management and Budget on how the Biden Administration will comply with West Virginia v. EPA and what procedures are in place to ensure the Administration is properly informing Congress of new regulatory activity.

Read the full letter here.

Cost of Biden’s Executive Actions The Biden Administration has already issued more than 600 executive actions that have cost taxpayers over $1 trillion.

  • Student Loan Cancellation: $500 Billion
  • Welfare Increase: $300 Billion
  • Wealthy Student Loan Repayment Pause: $100 Billion
  • Obamacare Expansion: $34 Billion
  • Federal Benefits for Immigrants: $20 Billion
  • Weakening work requirements for SNAP: $11 Billion
  • Wage Increases for Government Contractors: $7 Billion
  • Weakening work requirements for Medicaid: $3 Billion
  • Student Loan Waivers and Debt Adjustments: $3 Billion