Originally published December 29 2014
Obama issues more executive memoranda than any other president in history
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In recent days Natural News published a story regarding a "head fake" by President Obama regarding executive amnesty for illegal aliens.
As you may recall, during a national address amid a furor of observation and reportage that he was set to unlawfully enact amnesty through executive order, Obama outlined several steps he was taking in order to address what he called a "broken immigration system."
The stage was set. The president did what he said ahead of time he was going to do.
Memorandum, executive order...what's the difference?Or did he? No, according to our report; what the president did was issue a presidential memorandum to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, essentially directing him to implement his policies through agency action. In the days after Obama's national address, no executive order outlining his directives was ever published in the Federal Register, as required by the Constitution. But the memorandum was, according to USA Today.
The paper further reported that this is a disturbing new use of presidential power, unprecedented before Obama came to the Oval Office:
President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history - using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.
When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the "Do Nothing Congress" almost seven decades ago, according to a USA Today review of presidential documents.
With Obama, it's all about the head fakeIt's not that Obama hasn't issued executive orders; he certainly has. He has issued them to give federal employees the day after Christmas off, determine how secrets vital to national security are to be classified and to impose economic sanctions.
But he's also used presidential memoranda in many different ways to bypass the traditional executive order route. As noted by USA Today, he has issued memoranda to enact his policies on immigration, gun control and labor regulations. And just a few days ago, he issued a memorandum to declare an entire region of a state - Bristol Bay, Alaska - off-limits to oil and gas exploration.
USA Today further reported, by all practical effects there is little difference between executive orders and memoranda:
Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don't require action by Congress. They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda.
It's all part of the post-constitutional situation in America today: An Executive Branch empowered by a vast and growing bureaucracy that increasingly imposes the will of one person on the entire country, thereby circumventing the founding fathers' notion of "consent of the governed."
Head fake 2.0Obama - as he has often done with other issues (Obamacare comes to mind) - has tried to claim just the opposite of what he's done regarding executive actions. He likes to say he has used executive power far less than previous presidents.
"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," Obama told his audience during a speech in Austin, Texas, last July. "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."
[Editor's note: That's another Obama head fake; while initially claiming he was the man who could heal the divisions between the political parties, he has spent his entire tenure in the Oval Office casting opposition Republicans in as bad a light as possible].
As of December 16, Obama had issued 195 executive orders; but published alongside them in the Federal Register are 198 executive memoranda, and they all carry the same legal force as executive orders.
"He's already signed 33 percent more presidential memoranda in less than six years than Bush did in eight," USA Today reported. "He's also issued 45 percent more than the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who assertively used memoranda to signal what kinds of regulations he wanted federal agencies to adopt."
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