Move over executive orders. President Obama has another tool to push policy absent congressional stamp — and it’s far less known and controversial. It’s called executive action.
The beauty of the action is that it avoids Republican criticisms and conservative charges that Mr. Obama acts like a “monarch” when issuing executive orders, The Hill reports. So while on paper, Mr. Obama may actually appear as if he’s issuing fewer executive orders than many other presidents who have served two terms, the reality is he’s still finding plenty of ways to bypass Congress. He’s just not calling those ways executive orders.
“He’s actually been pretty aggressive on a number of fronts,” said Kenneth Mayer, a University of Wisconsin political science professor quoted by The Hill.
Mr. Obama has disdained the executive order label for “executive actions,” Mr. Mayer said. And he’s used that action to push his own policy on a variety of issues, from gun control to immigration to overseas drone strikes, The Hill reports.
For example, in 2011, the president put a stop to the deportation of thousands of illegal immigrants via a memo to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, The Hill reports.
“Clearly, she was acting as an instrument of the president,” Mr. Mayer said. And Congress wasn’t pleased.
The president’s action was “an affront to the process of representative government,” said Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, in The Hill. “He’s circumventing Congress with a directive he may not have the authority to execute.”