House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), and Oversight Committee Republicans raised concerns about the Biden Administration’s lack of constitutional and statutory authority to enact the Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, E.O. 14019. In letters to U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Robin Carnahan and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja, the Republican lawmakers emphasized their commitment to protecting every eligible citizen’s right to vote but expressed real concerns over federal agencies engaging in any activity beyond their intended constitutional missions. To ensure President Biden is abiding by the U.S. Constitution and agencies are fulfilling their responsibilities, the lawmakers are requesting all information and possible plans from GSA and OPM related to the President’s Executive Order.
“We write today to inquire about the Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, E.O. 14019, which President Joe Biden signed on March 7, 2021, and to share our concerns about the lack of constitutional and statutory authority for federal agencies to engage in any activity beyond its stated mission, including federal voting access and registration activities,” wrote the lawmakers. “We are certain you agree with us that every eligible voter who chooses to vote must have the opportunity to vote, and that every lawful vote must count, and increased voter registration and participation is a goal we share. Yet, our system requires that our actions must comport always with the Constitution and other federal law. We are concerned that this Executive Order goes beyond the power of the President and the statutory authority given to federal agencies, specifically (1) Directing federal agencies to assist states with voter registration if a state requests assistance; (2) Expanding the use of vote.gov and suggesting agencies add a link to it on their websites; and (3) Proposing ways to increase federally funded government employee participation in the voting process.”
The Republican lawmakers recently sent a similar letter to the Directors of the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Management and Budget and, to date, have received no response. Federal agencies must remain committed to serving the American people by fulfilling their respective missions and refrain from engaging in any of the Biden Administration’s political activities. At a time when Americans are facing many crises, it’s imperative to ensure that President Biden is not diverting resources away from important programs.
“We share the same goal of protecting every eligible citizen’s right to vote and that every lawful vote must count. However, we must follow the paradigm as established by the Constitution. States have the primary role in establishing election law with Congress playing a secondary role. As the federal government, we must exercise caution to ensure the actions we take are constitutional,” concluded the lawmakers.
The letter to GSA can be found here.
The letter to OPM can be found here.