Biden About to Break Third Promise to Keep Americans Safe; Will Probably Fail to Take Simple Executive Actions to Save Many Lives
President Joe Biden May Break His Third Promise
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2021) - Although President Joe Biden has just promised to "use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe," this may be the third promise to protect American lives that he will break, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, whose own actions have saved millions of lives.
First, he broke his a campaign promise to send a bill to Congress on his first day in office repealing liability protections for gun manufacturers and closing background-check loopholes.
Then, to add insult to injury, he engaged in a wide variety of executive actions in the days immediately after being sworn in, but none of them related directly or even directly to firearms and shooting deaths.
Then, notes Banzhaf, although Biden railed at the increasing number of states dropping their mask mandates, and even called these decisions "neanderthal," he broke his promise to "do everything possible" from "an executive standpoint" to "make it required that people had to wear masks in public."
In summary, charges Banzhaf, he failed to take a simple step; one which would not require any action by Congress and which was before his own White House COVID-19 Response Team, which would almost certainly have saved thousands of lives.
By simply announcing that applications for federal health-related grants will only be accepted from entities - including schools, hospitals, local governmental bodies, universities, charitable organizations, and many others - in states which have a mask mandate in effect on a stated date (e.g., April 1, 2021), he would put enormous pressure on more than a dozen states which refuse to have in place this proven measure to save lives and prevent disease.
Similarly, if he announced, using his unquestioned executive authority, that all federal grants related to crime prevention and law enforcement will only be accepted from entities in states which have comprehensive gun control laws in place by a stated date, he would put enormous pressure on the many states which do not have state laws of the type Biden himself has proposed.
Now, despite two very recent mass murders, and overwhelming support by the public for stricter firearms laws, Biden is so far not even discussing this very realistic and simple option, says Banzhaf, and thus is likely to break even more life-saving promises to the American public during this first one hundred days.
Since government grants and the conditions under which they are to be awarded are largely discretionary, such directives from the President would be perfectly legal - unlike an executive order for a national mask mandate or seeking to impose federal restrictions related to guns - both of which would be subject to legal challenge.
Indeed, imposing conditions to receive federal grants (e.g., not to discriminate, to protect the environment, etc.) are commonplace, generally accepted, and have been used successfully for many years, says the law professor.
Imposing Conditions On Grant Funds
Fortunately, the Congressional Research Service agrees, and spelled out the legal basis for imposing such conditions in its "The Federal Government's Authority to Impose Conditions on Grant Funds."
Many presidents in the past have imposed conditions on grants, and/or threatened to withhold grants, to protect the American public before Congress was ready to act, notes Banzhaf.
If Biden promises to "use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe" from mass shootings, and "do everything possible" from "an executive standpoint" to "make it required that people had to wear masks in public," he should be pressured to carry out these promises, not only by health and gun-safety groups, but also by the great majority of Americans concerned about these life-and-death issues, and who expect this president to keep promises he has made.