- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

President Obama may have issued fewer executive orders than some previous presidents — but he’s definitely found a friend with presidential memoranda, and has used this White House power to push forward far-reaching personal agendas, from amnesty to clamp-downs on oil exploration.

The presidential memorandum is akin to an executive order in neither require congressional action and both can carry far-reaching influence. Mr. Obama, for instance, has used this form of White House power to impose gun controls, sidestep Congress on amnesty and, most recently, declare Bristol Bay, Alaska, off-limits for gas and oil exploration, USA Today reported.

At the same time, Mr. Obama has bragged about his restraint with executive orders, saying in July in an Austin speech that “the truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years,” USA Today reported.

And then he jabbed: “So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.”

But factor in the presidential memoranda, and Mr. Obama’s taken massive liberties with his executive demands, USA Today reported.

As of Tuesday, Mr. Obama has issued 195 executive orders, and 198 presidential memoranda, USA Today found. And on the latter — the presidential memoranda — that’s far more than any other president, the news outlet found. By the figures, Mr. Obama’s issued 33 percent more presidential memoranda in six years than former President George W. Bush did in eight years — and 45 percent more than former President Bill Clinton during both his terms, USA Today found.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about executive orders in his presidency and of course, by sheer numbers, he’s had fewer than other presidents,” said Andrew Rudalevige, a presidency scholar at Bowdoin College, in USA Today. “So the White House and its defenders can say, ‘He can’t be abusing his executive authority — he’s hardly using any orders.’ But if you look at these other vehicles, he has been aggressive in his use of executive power.”


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