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home : opinion : opinion May 26, 2016

7/15/2014 5:12:00 PM
Editorial On Boehner, Obama and Executive Orders

Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives John Boehner apparently neglected to research American history before making the decision to sue President Obama for excessive use of Presidential Executive Orders. If he had done so, he would be aware that, as U.S. presidents go, Obama has been rather lax in using this tool for conducting federal business, with his total usage of executive orders being less than the annual average for many 20th century presidents.

In the past 100 years, U.S. presidents' issuance of Presidential Executive Orders is as follows:

Woodrow Wilson 1,803

Warren Harding 522

Calvin Coolidge 1,203

Herbert Hoover 968

Franklin D. Roosevelt 3,522

Harry Truman 907

Dwight D. Eisenhower 484

John F. Kennedy 214

Lyndon Johnson 325

Richard Nixon 346

Gerald Ford 169

Jimmy Carter 320

Ronald Reagan 381

George H.W. Bush 166

Bill Clinton 364

George W. Bush 291

Barack Obama 182

Several U.S. presidents issued more executive orders each year than Obama has in six years. These include:

Woodrow Wilson 225.4 per year

Warren Harding 216.3 per year

Calvin Coolidge 215.1 per year

Herbert Hoover 242 per year

Franklin D. Roosevelt 290.7 per year

President Ronald Reagan issued 213 Presidential Executive Orders during his first term, compared to 147 first term orders by President Obama.

Republican presidents since WW2 have averaged the following numbers of executive orders:

Dwight D. Eisenhower 60.5 per year

Richard Nixon 62.3 per year

Gerald Ford 68.9 per year

Ronald Reagan 47.6 per year

George H.W. Bush 41.5 per year

George W. Bush 36.4 per year

President Obama has averaged only 33.6 per year.

Aside from the two Democratic presidents who governed during the two world wars, Wilson and Roosevelt, the number of Democratic Presidential Executive Orders is dwarfed by the number issued by Republican Presidents. Since our country was founded, there have been 15,182 Presidential Executive Orders issued by Republican and Democrat presidents. Of those, 8,060 were issued by Democrats and 7,122 by Republicans.

That averages out to 81 executive orders per year by every Republican U.S. president since the nation was founded.

It averages out to 95 executive orders per year by every Democrat U.S. president since the nation was founded.

Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt, who governed during the world wars, issued 5,325 executive orders. Excluding those orders, Democrat Presidents averaged only 40 executive orders per year.

No matter how you compute the use of Presidential Executive Orders, you have to be pretty ignorant of the facts to believe President Obama is overdoing it.

I am not a supporter of Presidential Executive Orders. I believe the majority of those 15,182 previously issued orders, when not passed during wartime, would have been more properly handled with legislation; however, when Congress refuses to do its job and instead insists on playing politics, as is the current situation in Washington, that is why our forefathers authorized Presidential Executive Orders.

If Speaker Boehner were to educate himself about the issue, he might decide pursuing a lawsuit on the use of Presidential Executive Orders is a course it would be prudent to abandon for the sake of future Republican presidents.

Larry Dobson

Claremont Service

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