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Biden gets ready to turn to executive action as Republicans take House

FILE – President Joe Biden speaks about his administration’s plans to lower prescription drug costs and protect Social Security and Medicare, Nov. 5, 2022, in Joliet, Ill. Millions of people who enrolled in Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic could start to lose their insurance plans by April 1 if Congress passes the $1.7 trillion spending package leaders unveiled Tuesday. The legislation will sunset a requirement of the COVID-19 public health emergency that the Biden administration has been under mounting pressure to end. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) Patrick Semansky/AP

Biden gets ready to turn to executive action as Republicans take House

Katherine Doyle

January 04, 01:53 AM January 04, 01:54 AM

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Facing a divided Congress and the looming 2024 presidential race, President Joe Biden’s year ahead promises the potential for legislative gridlock. Under pressure from Democrats to move his priorities forward, Biden, who was elected promising to work across the aisle, might find he can get more done acting alone.

The White House has said Biden is eager to work with Republicans, a proposition Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates billed as mutually beneficial. Republicans who voted for bipartisan legislation held onto their seats in the midterms, Bates said in a pre-Christmas memo.

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Of Biden, Bates wrote: “He goes into the new year with his hand outstretched.”

On Wednesday, Biden is set to visit Kentucky, where he is meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to tout the outcome of bipartisan bills.

But there are fewer avenues for cooperation as the Republican-controlled House navigates its own leadership challenges, said Jim Manley, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s chief spokesperson, alluding to the uphill battle faced by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as he attempts to lock down the votes needed to secure the speaker’s gavel.

“I get that Democrats pulled off a bunch of big wins last year despite such a narrow margin in the Senate, but it’s difficult to imagine that happening again given the chaos that has engulfed the House Republican caucus,” Manley said.

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Instead, the Biden administration is poised to enact laws from a slate of bills in various stages of implementation, including from the bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

But with issues Biden ran on in 2020 but hasn’t yet tackled, the president may find another approach necessary: ignoring the bipartisan bridge-building that his aides uphold as a sign of his accomplishments.

Biden has issued executive orders already, including for his student loan forgiveness plan, yet party activists want to see more debt relief, climate action, marijuana reforms, and support for organized labor.

With Biden poised to announce his reelection campaign for 2024, the president faces pressure to satisfy his earlier campaign promises, increasingly on issues unlikely to find support among his political opponents.

“As we move into the next election cycle, using executive orders to get stuff done is going to be more important than ever,” Manley said.

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