As President Joe Biden assumed office and two newly elected Georgia Democrat senators were sworn in on Jan. 20, Texas Republicans prepared to mount a flurry of legal challenges to push back against the incoming administration’s progressive agenda.
The Biden administration has signaled a left-leaning agenda on energy, taxes, immigration, health care, and other priorities. Biden has vowed to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and take far-reaching steps on climate change, including seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 and effectively ending them by around 2050, sparking existential fears from the fossil fuel industry, a key economic pillar in Texas.
Biden has also proposed sweeping immigration reform that would create a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants, and plans to roll back Trump’s corporate tax cuts and raise income tax.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who—while serving as the state’s attorney general—famously proclaimed, “I go into the office, I sue the federal government, and I go home,” said on Jan. 16 that the Biden White House can expect a spate of legal challenges from the Lone Star State.
“Texas will take action whenever the federal government encroaches on states’ rights, or interferes with constitutional rights, or private property rights or the right to earn a living.”
The Lone Star State sued the administration of President Barack Obama dozens of times to stop initiatives such as the Clean Power Plan or to end the Affordable Care Act, the signature health plan known as Obamacare.
The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which filed the Affordable Care Act challenge that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, is gearing up for a flurry of legal challenges.
Robert Henneke, general counsel at the TPPF, told the San Antonio Express-News that he expects the Biden administration to “pick up where the Obama administration left off.”
“Litigation challenging unconstitutional action from the Biden administration will be a central issue,” Henneke told the outlet. “Where the new administration seeks to go out of bounds of what powers have been delegated to it, or enacts policies and rules that aren’t supported by data and science, I expect that we’ll be chief among those challenging those type of policies.”
Meanwhile, a recent national survey shows that most Republicans want congressional leaders to challenge Biden on important issues.
“A majority of Republicans (59 percent) want their party’s leaders to ‘stand up’ to Biden,” according to the Pew Research Center, while “a sizable majority of conservative Republicans (69 percent) favor GOP leaders standing up to Biden, compared with 44 percent of GOP moderates and liberals.”