Presidential Actions since February 4, 2021

This has been an ongoing series where Presidential Actions have been parsed out in an effort to acquire some transparency into the intentions President Biden has implemented in the opening days of his administration. For a full breakdown of the difference in the kinds of  Actions available, please visit PEG’s article “Presidential Actions: What’s the Difference?”. It must be noted that it is easy to revoke the executive orders of previous administrations without the proper legislation to codify policy. It is imperative to understand that without urging congress to pass bills that support Executive Orders, they are vulnerable once a president leaves office.

The subjects of the following actions range from policy revocations, civil rights, and foreign policy. There are links directly to the officially published documents in the Federal Register. As of the date of this article, fifty days into his administration, President Biden has issued 35 Executive Orders, 16 Proclamations, and 11 Memoranda. Notices have not been presented, but can be found in the Federal Register.

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CIVICS DECK – What is a Filibuster?

The Guardian sees the filibuster as a way for a relatively small group of senators to block some action by the majority. The filibuster rule allows a minority of 41 senators (out of 100 total) to prevent a vote on most species of legislation. This political strategy takes advantage of a U.S. Senate rule that says a senator, once recognized on the floor, may speak on an issue without being impeded by anyone, thus allowing senators to speak for hours to delay efforts to vote for a bill.

There is no filibuster in the House of Representatives because rules adopted in that larger legislative body strictly limit the amount of time each representative may speak on the House floor.

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CENSUS – the ongoing saga of delayed results and the impact on the 2022 election

date changes have created angst for the political parties and its’ constituencies and placed states in difficult positions to legally and accurately complete their responsibilities.  Some states have constitutional deadlines for redistricting and/or statutory filing deadlines for primaries.

Michigan’s redistricting commission will hold an open meeting at 1 PM on March 5th to discuss the conflict between when Census data will be available and constitutional deadlines. Complicating matters, voting rights advocates have said, is that this will be the first redistricting cycle since the Supreme Court eliminated the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act that required states with a history of racial discrimination to prove to the Department of Justice that their electoral maps weren’t drawn to dilute the power of voters of color. The shortened redistricting window leaves less time to challenge maps in the courts as discriminatory.

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Rise in Hate Crimes on Asian Americans

Shortly after his Inauguration, President Joe Biden signed a memorandum denouncing xenophobia and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but the recent violence has caused communities to hunker down again during the normally celebratory time of Lunar New Year.

The increase in hate incidents is a particular concern in urban areas, especially in New York and California. However, activists are angered not only by the violence but by the lack of media attention the cases received. It is deemed unclear to police whether the spate of crimes are racially motivated, however, the similarity and volume of the attacks speak to an increased bias rather than a series of individual events.

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The Unseen Heritage of Black Women Working for the Vote

Although the subject of Black female activists fighting for voting rights has been rehashed in the media in the 2020 Presidential Election and the US Senate runoffs in Georgia. It was clear that Black female voting rights activists were pivotal in affecting the change to a new administration. In January, coinciding with the runoffs, Time reprinted a November article illuminating the chronicle of Black women activists that started out fighting for the women’s vote, a story that begins long before the recent historic efforts in Georgia. It is this overlooked history of dedication to progressing forward that today’s Black female organizers fighting for the vote recognize, build upon, and respect. It was evident in November and January, that the under-recognized work by Black women activists, past and present, opens doors and impacts people of all races and genders and will be the key in the continued fight for voting equality.

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