Obama Goes Executive
With his chief of staff reviewing the list of presidential executive orders, Obama is getting ready to act on his own.
Any president has vast authority to influence policy even without legislation, through executive orders, agency rule-making and administrative fiat. And Mr. Obama’s success this week in pressuring the Senate to confirm 27 nominations by threatening to use his recess appointment power demonstrated that executive authority can also be leveraged to force action by Congress.
Obama has already gone ahead with the decision to create a bipartisan budget commission after Congress refused. Other examples include his softening of enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military even though Congress is considering on repealing the law and allowing the EPA to move forward with regulating heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change, while a bill to cap such emissions has not passed the Senate.
White House officials said the increased focus on executive authority reflected a natural evolution from the first year to the second year of any presidency.
“The challenges we had to address in 2009 ensured that the center of action would be in Congress,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “In 2010, executive actions will also play a key role in advancing the agenda.”
Does this mean the end for President Pelosi? Let's hope Obama doesn't allow himself too much power, especially after criticizing George W. Bush during his campaign trail for bypassing legislation!