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White House defends flurry of executive orders

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Press secretary Jen Psaki is defending the White House's reliance on a raft of executive orders during President Joe Biden's first days in office. In his first eight days, Biden has already signed more than 30 presidential actions. (Jan. 28)

Video Transcript

- And I wanted to ask about this flurry of executive orders we've seen. President Biden ran on a pledge to restore unity. He promised on Inauguration Day he'd be a president for all Americans. But since he's gotten into office, he's been largely acting unilaterally.

JEN PSKAI: First, the President put forward a large and bold COVID relief package, $1.9 trillion that is meant to address the challenges the American people are facing in the dual crises that the country is facing, from the pandemic to an economic recession as a result. That package has the support of the majority of Americans, according to every poll that we have seen publicly released. So I would say first that part of unifying the country is addressing the problems that the American people are facing. And working to reach out to Democrats and Republicans to do exactly that. And that's exactly what he's doing.

He also ran with a commitment to take steps immediately to address the pain and suffering that the American people were feeling. And that includes overturning some of the detrimental, harmful, and at times immoral policies and actions of the prior administration. But he's the first to tell you, as he said many times publicly, he's not going to take executive action alone. Now any historian will tell you, that he walked into the presidency at one of the most difficult moments in history that required additional executive action in order to get immediate relief to the American people.

But he believes, as is law, as everybody knows how a bill becomes law, is that in order to make action and policy permanent, you need to work with Congress. So he's going to use the levers that every president in history has used, executive actions. But he also feels it's important to work with Congress and not just one party, but both parties, to get things done. Go ahead in the back.