Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, leaves a roundtable discussion early at the U.S. Capitol with actor Mark Ruffalo and Dr. Anna Reade, Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Scientist, on January 29, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Sanders Team Weighing Executive Orders to Legalize Marijuana, Stop Trump Border Wall, Declare Climate Emergency, and More

"We cannot accept delays from Congress on some of the most pressing issues, especially those like immigration where Trump has governed with racism and for his own corrupt benefit."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders' staff is reportedly preparing dozens of potential executive orders addressing an array of pressing issues the Vermont senator has made central to his 2020 presidential campaign, from confronting the climate crisis to lowering prescription drug prices to reversing President Donald Trump's racist immigration policies.

The Washington Post's Jeff Stein, citing two anonymous people familiar with the campaign's plans and an internal document, reported Thursday that Sanders aides have presented the senator with a list of possible executive orders that would allow him to unilaterally:

  • Declare a national climate emergency;
  • Ban U.S. exports of crude oil;
  • Import prescription drugs from Canada;
  • Cancel federal contracts for companies that pay their workers less than $15 an hour;
  • Direct the Department of Justice to legalize marijuana at the federal level;
  • Reverse existing rules that bar the U.S. from funding organizations that provide abortion services;
  • Immediately halt the construction of President Donald Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall;
  • Lift the cap on the number of refugees the U.S. accepts each year; and
  • Release billions in disaster aid to Puerto Rico that the Trump administration has withheld.

"The document reviewed by the Post shows how the Sanders campaign has already begun extensive planning for how the senator would lead the country in his first days as president if he won the Democratic nomination and defeated Trump in November," Stein reported. "Many of the proposals Sanders has floated on the campaign trail do not have support from congressional Republicans and are opposed by some Democrats, so a willingness to move forward without congressional approval could determine whether many of his policies are enacted."

According to Stein, Sanders is currently in the process of reviewing the list of executive orders but has not yet approved its official release.

"We cannot accept delays from Congress on some of the most pressing issues, especially those like immigration where Trump has governed with racism and for his own corrupt benefit," states the internal campaign document, according to the Post.

As Stein noted on Twitter, more than a dozen of the potential executive orders focus on reversing Trump's inhumane immigration policies as well as confronting longstanding problems with the U.S. immigration system, such as private detention facilities.

News of the list of potential executive orders comes just days ahead of the Iowa caucuses on February 3—Monday. As Common Dreams reported, two recent polls showed Sanders leading the Democratic primary field in Iowa as he continues to gain momentum in other key states and nationally.

Mike Casca, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign, declined the Post's request to comment on the potential executive orders, saying, "We're focused on organizing a huge voter turnout in Iowa on Monday."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·


Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·


Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Dems Back Blue Dog Spanberger for Swing District Post Over Progressive Cartwright

The corporate Democrat's path to victory was "pretty simple," said one progressive. "Matt Cartwright supports Medicare for All and Spanberger is a former CIA agent who spends all her time punching left."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo