The President of the United States in the leader of the Executive branch of our government. Although the Legislative branch authorizes the activities of the agencies and departments, it is the President’s responsibility to give them direction and guidance. This is generally done by Executive Orders. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution grants to the President the “executive Power.” Section 3 of Article II further directs the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Executive Orders can range from “ceremonial” or “symbolic” (ie the President declares ‘National Take you Child To Work Day’) to those concerned with national security. President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus by an Executive Order. President Truman integrated the arm forces by an Executive Order. President Reagan used an Executive Order to forbid federal funds for advocating abortion, and President Clinton reversed that by another Executive Order.
The republican leadership and their cohorts complain about the frequency President Obama uses Executive Orders. This chart, which shows how many Executive Orders each president issued per day they were in office, shows that President Obama has used Executive Orders at a lower rate than any president since President Cleveland.
The present Executive Orders controversy deals with immigration, a pathway to citizenship, and amnesty. In July the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive Immigration Bill. The vote was 68-32, with 14 republicans voting in favor of it. The House leadership has denied our representatives to discuss, let alone to vote on, the bill the Senate passed. The term “Amnesty” has been sneaking into republican immigration sound bites. An earlier New NY 23rd article, “Rep. Reed, Farmers & the Pathway to Citizenship” details the Senate bill. The article points out the difference between a Obama’s Pathway to Citizenship and republican’s definition of amnesty. President Reagan and (the first) President Bush used Executive Orders to extend amnesty to family members who were not covered in Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Law. It is evident that the republican leadership holds the republican presidents to a much different standard than President Obama.
An example of republican rhetoric that riles up it’s base can be see in Rep. Steve King (R-IA) statement, “The audacity of this president to think he can completely destroy the rule of law with the stroke of a pen is unfathomable to me. It is unconstitutional, it is cynical, and it violates the will of the American people.” (If President Obama’s yet to be finalized Executive Order violates the will of the American people, then someone should tell that to the Texas Republicans who responded to the following poll, which took place in March, 2014. The same poll asked, “When you considered immigration reform, how important is it to you that Congress acts on the issue this year?” The results—74% of Texas Republicans think that it is Very (47%) or Somewhat Important (27%) for Congress to act on immigration this year, 22% think it is Not Very Important (12%) or Not At All Important (10%). This is not quite the message the republican leaders are spinning. If the republican leaders really thought that their Immigration reform violates the will of the American people, they would voted “NO” on the bill the Senate’s Bill passed–and voted “No”. Obviously that didn’t happen. Why? While the Republicans play political games, many suffer. That includes farmers in the NY 23rd.
Sites Providing Access to Executive Orders
•Executive Orders Disposition Tables (Federal Register)
New NY 23rd Articles About Executive Orders
New NY 23rd Articles About Immigration