Obama’s Executive Order problem

Published on Metro weekly, by Justin Snow, Jan 17, 2014.

… With a portrait of George Washington looking down at him, Obama told reporters gathered in the Cabinet Room of the White House Tuesday that while Congress is busy with a number of bills at the start of 2014, “We are not just going to be waiting for a legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.” 

“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said, “and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible and making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

Obama is not the first American president to find himself frustrated with Congress, nor is he the first to threaten executive action as his legislative priorities remain blocked by the party of the opposition. Beginning with Washington himself, nearly every president has issued at least one executive order, with some going upwards of 1,000. (Franklin Roosevelt signed a whopping 3,728 during his 12 years in office.)

Obama, however, finds himself in a precarious situation. Having been elected twice by an organized but wildly diverse base, Obama has been besieged by those who voted for him in 2008 and 2012, but who haven’t seen him deliver on all of his promises.

For nearly two years Obama’s White House has been forced to defend a broken promise to the LGBT community. It was in April 2012 that White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told leaders from some of the nation’s largest LGBT-rights organizations that Obama would not sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The revelation was a major and unexpected blow to advocates, who had long sought the order and who thought Obama, having promised to sign such an executive order as a candidate for president in 2008, would deliver.

Since that meeting, the White House has sought to defend its decision by telling supporters and the press that Obama supports passage of comprehensive federal legislation — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — that will protect all workers, rather than just employees of federal contractors. That argument hasn’t sat well with LGBT activists, who have been some of the president’s most passionate defenders. They too support ENDA, but argue signing an executive order is a tangible step forward the president could take now.

It seemed the White House, as well as press secretary Jay Carney, who frequently fields questions on the executive order from mainstream and LGBT media outlets, might finally catch a break last November when ENDA cleared the Senate with a bipartisan 64-32 vote. But nearly as soon as the vote had been tallied in the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner announced his opposition to the bill, nearly guaranteeing the bill won’t even be brought up for a vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

While lobbying in the House, virtually all of the bill’s supporters inside and outside of Congress insist Obama could take action today to protect 20 percent of the workforce with just the flick of his pen. Indeed, since April 2012, when Jarrett announced there would be no executive order from the president, Obama has signed about 50 other executive orders on a range of issues.

With each order he signs, Obama runs the risk of alienating one group or another for acting on a particular issue over another — whether it be on such high-profile issues as immigration reform, gun control or LGBT workplace discrimination. During a speech at a Democratic National Committee event in California this past November, Obama was interrupted by a heckler calling on him to take executive action on what appeared to be immigration reform … //

… (full text).


Citizens Deserve to Understand How the Government Uses Executive Order 12,333 to Spy on Americans … 32 Years after it was Issued, on AllGov, Jan 6, 2014;

Executive Order 12,333: Permission To Spy On The Whole World, on MintPressNews, by Jon Queally, Jan 2, 2014;

ACLU sues US for details of Executive Order 12333, on Global Post, December 30, 2013 (ACLU’s Homepage);

Executive order EO on en.wikipedia, incl. See also and External Links;

United States Presidents issue executive orders to help officers and agencies of the executive branch manage the operations within the federal government itself. Executive orders have the full force of law[1] when they take authority from a power granted directly to the Executive by the Constitution, or are made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress which explicitly delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation). Like statutes or regulations promulgated by government agencies, executive orders are subject to judicial review, and may be struck down if deemed by the courts to be unsupported by statute or the Constitution. Major policy initiatives usually require approval by the legislative branch, but executive orders have significant influence over the internal affairs of government, deciding how and to what degree laws will be enforced, dealing with emergencies, waging war, and in general fine policy choices in the implementation of broad statutes, In other countries, similar edicts may be known as decrees, or orders in council.

in german: Obama erklärt, künftig per Dekret regieren zu wollen, im KOPP-Verlag, von Kurt Nimmo, 16. Jan 2014.

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