Bracing for a divided government, progressives are charting a path forward for Joe Biden’s economic vision that doesn’t involve Congress.
In a memo released on Wednesday, New Consensus, a progressive think tank led by former aides to congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, outlines how Biden could implement his “Build Back Better” economic agenda using only his presidential powers and executive authorities.
“If President Biden is able to rise to this moment, he can create millions of good, high-wage jobs in every community across the country, bringing this country out of the current economic depression to be better and stronger than ever before — and he doesn’t need the Senate to do it,” the group said in a statement.
Biden’s economic platform ties the nation’s economic revival from the coronavirus pandemic to combating climate change, addressing racial injustice and investing in American manufacturing. While passing legislation would be preferable, the group writes, the administration must be prepared to work around a hostile Senate.
Key to this plan are the creation of a National Development Council, which would establish a national economic development strategy to implement Biden’s agenda, and a National Development Bank, housed within the Treasury Department that would contract federal agencies to fund national infrastructure projects.
The memo calls on Biden to collaborate with the chair of the Federal Reserve and Secretary of the Treasury Department to implement his plan, drawing on the precedent set by George Bush and Barack Obama during the 2008-9 economic crash.
“Simply by following well established precedent, President Biden could, for example, direct funding towards ensuring that PPE factories are producing what we need and that new mask factories get built,” they said in a statement. Other examples include investment in the auto industry to help manufacturers convert to 100% electric cars.
Democrats will maintain a narrow majority in the House, but control of the Senate hinges on the results of two run off elections in Georgia in January. If Democrats can pull of wins in both seats, the chamber would be split evenly, with vice president-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.