Today, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent letters to five federal agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction to raise concerns about the Biden administration’s lack of constitutional and statutory authority to enact the Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting.
The letters are part of a series being sent to 12 federal agencies by Republicans on the House Committees on Administration, Agriculture, Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, Oversight and Reform, Small Business, and Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture and Financial Services and General Government.
Ranking Members Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), James Comer (R-KY), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), and Steve Womack (R-AR) released the following statement: “Federal agencies should be focused on serving the American people by fulfilling their respective missions, not engaging in the Biden administration’s political activities. At a time when our nation is facing many crises, we want to ensure that President Biden is not diverting resources away from important programs that fall directly under our congressional oversight.”
In the letter to the Department of Education, the Members write: “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.”
In the letter to the Department of Labor, the Members state: “As laudable as expanding access to information about voter registration is, it is not under the purview of the more than 180 statutes that authorize DOL and its programs. … DOL has critical work to do on behalf of workers. It is inappropriate for DOL to turn its attention to issues for which it has not been statutorily directed to undertake.”
In the letter to the National Labor Relations Board, the Members communicate: “What statutory authorities enable NLRB to engage in voter registration and share election information? How does engaging in activities related to voter registration further the agency’s mission?”
In the letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Members write: “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.”
In the letter to the Department of Agriculture, the Member write: “[W]e do question the Department’s direction that ‘the cost of providing voter registration services, including application processes and training for staff, are allowable SNAP administrative expenses and are reimbursed at the 50 percent level.’ Using the nation’s multi-billion-dollar domestic nutrition program to implement the Biden Administration’s voter registration scheme is not only a cause for concern, but one that necessitates further scrutiny.”
Background: On March 7, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting (E.O. 14019). On March 29, 2022, nine House Republican Committee leaders sent a letter to the Biden Administration raising concerns about its lack of constitutional and statutory authority to enact the Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, which directs federal agencies to engage in activities beyond their authorized mission, including increasing federal government employee involvement in elections and registration activities. To date, they have not received a response.