- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is urging President Biden to undertake a flurry of executive orders to circumvent opposition by the GOP-controlled House to far-left priorities, including access to abortion services and expanding protections for illegal immigrants.

The nearly 100-member group released a 13-page wish list of executive orders it wants Mr. Biden to immediately adopt. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the caucus, was optimistic, saying many of the proposed orders complement Mr. Biden’s policies and public positions.

“Probably 90% of what’s on this executive action agenda are things that the White House shares our urgency and our desire to get done,” said CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat. “With a divided Congress, President Biden must make full use of his executive authority to continue to deliver for working families.”

Republicans say the agenda being proposed is extreme and would never secure sufficient support from voters. 

Topping the list of priorities is expanding access to abortion nationwide. Progressives want Mr. Biden to declare a public health emergency to allow the federal government to mobilize funds and resources to help facilitate abortions.

Along those lines, progressives want taxpayer money to subsidize transportation, lodging, and childcare costs for individuals traveling out of state to get an abortion. They also want the Justice Department to expand abortion services to federal prisoners and illegal immigrants detained for deportation.

To circumvent state laws banning abortion, progressives say the Justice Department should grant civil immunity to licensed abortion providers that travel to jurisdictions where their license is not recognized to perform the procedure.

Lawmakers also want the White House to allow licensed healthcare providers to practice telehealth medicine nationwide for the purpose of prescribing abortion medication.

Progressives say executive action is needed as legislative efforts on abortion and other issues are likely to get nowhere with Congress divided between Democrats and Republicans.

“The president has the power under existing law to take action to enact safe and humane policies,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat. “We have a duty as Democrats to follow through on our promise to fight for equity, justice, and for a better life for our constituents.”

Outside of abortion, progressives want to see Mr. Biden launch a national commission to study slavery reparations, end all fossil fuel subsidies, and expand protections for illegal migrants.

The progressive agenda also calls for tougher guidelines and requirements for federal contractors. For instance, progressives want to force federal contractors to remain neutral in union-organizing campaigns and cut off funding for companies that issue stock buybacks.

Progressives also want to make federal contractors disclose any labor or environmental violations and divulge their most recent political contributions.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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