What you need to know about Biden’s latest set of executive orders

This piece was originally published in the April 8, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

Photo by Rux Centea on Unsplash

“Care work makes all other work possible. Care work is infrastructure.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)

It’s time for our elected officials to start taking gun violence seriously.

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IN THE NEWS

  • In the wake of several high-profile mass shootings, including one this afternoon in Texas, President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced several directives and policy changes today aimed at reducing gun violence. The White House also reiterated their call for the Senate to take up three House-passed bills that would strengthen the background check system and help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. “We urge Congress to close the loopholes identified in the House-passed background check bills and VAWA reauthorization, but also go further,” said Susan Rice, Biden’s top domestic policy advisor. “Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, repeal manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and more.”
  • Among Biden’s six announcements on gun violence prevention are a nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and a directive for the Justice Department to stop the proliferation of “ghost guns,” which are essentially do-it-yourself gun assembly kits sold online and untraceable by authorities. Another order directs the DOJ to prepare an annual report on firearms trafficking. Check out this fact sheet from the White House for more about today’s announcements and this piece from CAP on the federal agency involved in their implementation.
  • The right is faux-outraged again, this time over the fact that Biden’s jobs and infrastructure proposal would do a lot to…boost our infrastructure and create jobs. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) gave Biden’s graphic designers some free content yesterday when she tweeted out this graphic calling out how much Biden wants to spend to support essential home care workers ($400 billion, glad you asked!). According to Blackburn’s logic, that’s not a good thing.
  • Her tweet is part of a broader push from the right to claim that everything in Biden’s American Jobs Plan that isn’t a road or a bridge doesn’t count as infrastructure. So what does infrastructure *actually* mean? We googled it so you don’t have to:
Definition of infrastructure from Merriam-Webster: The system of public works of a country, state, or region. The resources (such as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity. The underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization).
Definition of infrastructure from Merriam-Webster: The system of public works of a country, state, or region. The resources (such as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity. The underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization).
  • There we have it. Much like Biden’s plan to fix them, the array of systems that are considered “infrastructure” is far-reaching. Modernizing school buildings, ensuring access to safe drinking water, upgrading our energy system — all infrastructure, and all good ideas that would move our country in the right direction. Above all, it’s important to remember that each of these policies touches the lives of millions of people, many of whom are facing financial, personal, and economic hardships while right-wing politicians argue that their problems aren’t worth solving.
  • So if senators like Marsha Blackburn and Steve Daines want to debate the merits of Biden’s proposal, they’re welcome to do so. But considering the plan is really popular, there just might be a reason they’re focusing on semantics rather than policy when it comes to the American Jobs Plan.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% has an unlikely supporter: Former Trump advisor Gary Cohn. Yes, seriously. In an interview from June 2020 that resurfaced on social media this week, Cohn told Yahoo! News that he thought cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% — which happened as a result of Trump’s 2017 tax bill — was too drastic, and that he’s “actually okay at 28%.” Cohn explained that he thinks “the level [the Trump administration] got to in our tax plan on the corporate side was actually a bit lower than we needed to go” and said he thinks something “in the mid 20s made sense.”
  • Gary Cohn isn’t the only one who thinks we need a higher corporate tax rate. A recent poll from Morning Consult found that 65% of Americans support hiking corporate taxes to fund Biden’s infrastructure plan.

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WHAT WE’RE READING

This piece was originally published in the April 8, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

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