Public Citizen Delivers Robust Transition Agenda Demands to President-Elect Joe Biden

These documents offer a blueprint for building a political system that serves the people, rather than corporations and the super-rich starting on day one.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen and its partners developed a series of transition memos to guide the next administration through the country’s most pressing challenges, critical needs, and key opportunities. These documents offer a blueprint for building a political system that serves the people, rather than corporations and the super-rich. They include recommendations for key executive actions that President-elect Biden can take on day one and the first 100 days of his administration. The memos were sent to the Biden campaign staff and members of the transition team.

**All memos can be found here.

Day One is for Democracy:

To restore public faith in our democratic institutions, we must make comprehensive reforms to our democracy a top priority, including the For the People Act (H.R. 1.) The Declaration for American Democracy has six core demands for our democracy:

  1. Our democracy must include the freedom to vote and have that vote counted
  2. Our democracy must be honest
  3. Our democracy must have meaningful participation
  4. Our democracy must provide transparency into our government and our elections
  5. Our democracy must be responsive
  6. Our democracy must uphold checks and balances

Unwinding the Deregulatory State and Restoring Public Protections:

In a July 2020 memo for a post-Trump administration, Public Citizen discusses two important aspects of unwinding the deregulatory state and restoring the role of the federal government in protecting public health, safety, financial security, and the environment including:

Executive Actions to Restore Public Protections

  1. Repeal of executive orders
  2. New executive orders
  3. Congressional Review Act
  4. Rethinking the role of cost-benefit analysis
  5. Rethinking the role of OIRA
  6. Regulatory Integrity and Improvement Task Force
  7. Appointments
  8. Guidance documents

Legal Considerations in Rulemaking

  1. Delaying effective dates of final regulations
  2. Reversing agency policies
  3. Pending and forthcoming APA lawsuits
  4. Exceptions to notice-and-comment rulemaking
  5. Exercising enforcement discretion

Privacy And Digital Rights For All:

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a comprehensive baseline U.S. privacy law. Technology companies, remote-learning providers, and employers are taking advantage of the pandemic to collect troves of personal data. We need presidential leadership to address these challenges. Public Citizen, along with a broad group of leading privacy, consumer, and civil rights organizations produced the following ten action items:

  1. Recognize privacy and surveillance as racial justice issues and enact meaningful changes to protect Black and Brown communities
  2. Establish algorithmic governance and accountability to advance fair and just data practices
  3. Promote privacy protections and encourage the enactment of a baseline comprehensive federal privacy law
  4. Establish a data protection agency
  5. Ensure robust enforcement from the FTC and FCC
  6. Bring consumer, privacy, and civil rights experts into key government positions
  7. Limit government surveillance and access to personal data
  8. Protect children and teens from corporate surveillance and exploitative marketing practices
  9. Ensure antitrust authorities take privacy, digital rights, and civil rights into account in the merger review process
  10. Protect Americans’ health data

Pentagon Transparency and Accountability:

The Increasing Transparency and Accountability and Reducing Waste at the Pentagon memo was prepared by Public Citizen, the Center for International Progress, and the Project on Government Oversight and co-signed by over 30 groups. It includes key policy recommendations for day one and the first 100 days of a Biden presidency, including:

  1. Address corruption, conflicts of interest, and the revolving door
  2. Reduce waste and inefficiencies, increase accountability and oversight
  3. Make investments in the future, not the past

Financial Reform: First Day/100 Days:

To ensure that the next administration can hit the ground running on financial reform Public Citizen outlined the specific reforms that it can act on both immediately during its first day, and in the short-term, during its first 100 days, to realize Biden’s commitment to average Americans:

  1. Complete Wall Street systemic risk reform
  2. Reform corporate misconduct prosecution
  3. Reversal of Trump investor protection deregulation
  4. Address runaway executive compensation
  5. Improve conditions on CARES Act
  6. Establish sensible climate-responsive financial regulation
  7. Limit speculative trading by taxing financial transactions

Securing The Public Interest At FERC:

The independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a key to addressing the climate crisis. Less discussed are the myriad of other public interest protections that can be improved under a newly constituted FERC—without the need for Congress to act. Public Citizen’s five-point Securing The Public Interest At FERC follows:

  1. Launch a rulemaking to establish an office of public participation
  2. Enforce full market access for renewable energy and demand response, preserve state decarbonization goals and conduct lifecycle greenhouse gas emission impacts for natural gas public interest determinations
  3. Strengthen market oversight and enforcement
  4. Overhaul governance and transparency of RTOs/ISOs
  5. Improve market transparency

Building on H.R. 3 to Provide More Relief to Patients:

Even during the worst pandemic in a century, Americans continue to be burdened by skyrocketing drug prices. H.R. 3 would help patients consumers, but additional amendments to the bill would provide much more needed relief. H.R. 3 should be amended to:

  1. Curb high launch prices
  2. Expand which drugs are eligible for negotiations
  3. Deliver stronger price reductions
  4. Strength and improve price spike protections
  5. Allow all Americans to benefit from negotiated prices
  6. Strike the noninterference clause
  7. Target monopoly power

Ensuring Everyone Gets the Medicine They Need:

Many Americans cannot afford to wait for a vaccine or cannot afford treatment,  and as we course deeper into the pandemic, challenges to people’s existing health conditions will deepen as well.  The U.S government has the capacity and authority to research, develop and manufacture medicine at an immense scale, or have this done on its behalf under existing law. President-elect Joe Biden must urgently:

  1. Share medical technology
  2. Support public manufacturing and medical tools
  3. Require affordability
  4. Publish research data
  5. Publish the contracts

Access to Justice:

Access to the civil justice system is a fundamental right. However, over the past several decades, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have chipped away at people’s ability to seek redress in court. Executive and legislative actions are needed to restore and expand people’s access to the civil justice system, including:

  1. Combatting forced arbitration
  2. Addressing systemic inequalities
  3. Protecting the civil rights of all people
  4. Articulate administration policy against preemption of strong state laws
  5. Strengthen access to the civil justice system
  6. Bolstering enforcement of civil statutes

Product Safety Memorandum:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has gone from “the most powerful Federal regulatory agency ever created,” to a commission whose operations have become increasingly opaque to the public and Congress. This agency must be reformed using administration actions and legislation, including:

  1. Greater use of compliance and enforcement authority
  2. Continued use of authority to impose meaningful penalties on violations of the Consumer Product Safety Act
  3. Promulgating rules for infant sleep products and furniture safety without delay
  4. Filing leadership positions with experts dedicated to consumer safety
  5. Passing an agency reform bill
  6. Increasing funding for the agency

To speak with a Public Citizen expert on any of the topics above, please contact Derrick Robinson at drobinson@citizen.org, or (202) 909-6355.

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