White House veterans urge Biden to use executive power to advance agenda

President Barack Obama's former chiefs of staff are calling on President-elect Joe Biden to follow President Donald Trump's example as he preps for a divided Washington

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Although President-elect Joe Biden promised voters he’d be the complete opposite of President Donald Trump, he’s being urged by Obama White House alumni to follow Trump’s example and unapologetically lean on executive actions to push through key policies

The advice from Rahm Emanuel and Denis McDonough, former chiefs of staff to President Barack Obama, comes prior to Biden entering office with an agenda potentially hindered by a closely divided Congress, according to NPR.

“There is — as President Trump himself has demonstrated with the consent, quite obvious consent of Republicans in Congress — an enormous amount of leeway for the president to institute executive action on things like immigration and energy and climate policy,” said McDonough, who served as Obama’s chief for much of his second term.

President-Elect Joe Biden thegrio.com
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden holds a protective mask as he speaks to the media after receiving a briefing from the transition COVID-19 advisory board on November 09, 2020 at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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NPR reported that, during his presidency, Obama signed many high-profile executive orders and pushed for changes on environment, education, immigration and labor policies. But in stark contrast to Trump, most of Obama’s executive orders came after his party lost its majority in Congress, hindering his ability to push through important legislation.

“Trump changes that, and moves aggressively on executive orders — a multitude of them on multiple fronts,” said Emanuel, Obama’s first White House chief. “Everything on immigration, etc., without any legislation.”

Read More: Biden to undo Trump orders on civil rights, focus on racial equality

Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday, incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain promised a “sack” of executive orders that Biden will sign on his first day in the Oval Office. One of those orders will include Biden’s pandemic response that will involve setting up a “Pandemic Testing Board.”

“Many of Biden’s actions will result in a do-over of Obama’s policies that Trump spent the past four years trying to end: Protecting the DREAMers,” Klain said referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump tried to terminate. “Rejoining the Paris accords for climate change starting on Day 1, and reversing some of the environmental rollbacks we’ve seen from President Trump.”

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