White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield defended President Joe Biden’s use of executive actions on ABC’s “The View” on Friday.
“What he's done is looked at some of the most egregious, damaging actions from the Trump administration, done by executive order, and used his authority as president to roll those back and to undo that damage and to start to get us on a better path,” Bedingfield said.
“But look he is absolutely -- his preference is for legislative action. He intends to do the vast majority of his agenda believes via legislative action,” she added.
Biden believes “deeply” in the role of Congress, Bedingfield said. “That’s part of why we've already proposed the American rescue plan, why we're working so hard to get it passed,” she added.
The president has been criticized for relying heavily on executive actions at the beginning of his presidency. Over the first week and a half of his term, Biden has signed more than three-dozen executive actions addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, racial equity, health care and more.
The New York Times editorial board called for Biden to "ease-up" on executive orders Thursday, saying they create uncertainty.
"This is no way to make law," the editorial board wrote. "A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation."
Bedingfield pushed back on the editorial on Twitter, saying " I can’t help but recall that during the primary they encouraged voters to consider what a president could accomplish through exec action."
As the NYT ed board criticizes President Biden this am for taking swift executive action to reverse the most egregious actions of the Trump Admin, I can’t help but recall that during the primary they encouraged voters to consider what a president could accomplish through exec 1/— Kate Bedingfield (@WHCommsDir) January 28, 2021
"So my question is which actions that the President took to reverse Donald Trump’s executive orders would they have liked to see him not pursue? Of course we are also pursuing our agenda through legislation," she added. "It’s why we are working so hard to get the American Rescue Plan passed, for starters!"
On “The View” Friday, Bedingfield said the White House is moving “incredibly urgently” on COVID-19 relief.
“There are questions about the price tag but what is the cost of inaction? What is the cost of doing nothing and not getting the funding that we need to get more shots in American arms to get schools reopened to get aid to small businesses who are struggling trying to stay open during this pandemic,” she said. “I think the cost of inaction is -- it's almost unfathomable in some ways, given what we've all been living through as a country for almost a year.”
“This really shouldn't be a partisan conversation,” she added.
One of Biden’s key priorities is reopening most K-8 schools, but doing so depends on the resources in the administration’s COVID-19 relief package, Bedingfield said.
“I'm a mom. I have a 6-year-old who's doing a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning,” she said. “I know how hard virtual learning is on the teachers, I know how hard it is on the kids. There is an enormous, enormous cost to inaction here, there's an enormous cost to not getting this money out the door.”