President Trump has been making good use, depending on your political persuasion, of his ability to issue Executive Orders to cause things to happen without undergoing the typical proctological-style examination administered by opponents in Congress. He has issued 34 to date. Former President Obama also was accustomed to using these Orders although not nearly to the degree some have made such use of this power.
These Executive Orders carry the weight of law without having to go through the process of congressional hearings, floor votes, etc. in the effort to get a law enacted to the same effect. Congress is obviously not too excited about such orders since that tends to blunt its impact on those areas of concern.
We voters likely would feel better about the orders of a person for whom we voted and not-so-good about the orders from a person we were not fond of in that office, all other things being equal. It makes sense to look at the average number of Executive Orders per year since not all President serve two terms. President Garfield was in office for just six months.
President Obama – 35 per year
President George Bush – 36 per year
President Clinton – 46 per year
President Geo. H.W. Bush – 42 per year
President Reagan – 48 per year
President Carter – 80 per year
President Ford – 69 per year
President Nixon – 62 per year
President Johnson – 63 per year
President Kennedy – 75 per year
President Franklin Roosevelt – 307 per year
I will be interested to see the total numbers for President Trump since he appears to be issuing quite a few such Orders so far. I suspect, without having studied the reasons, that FDR issued as many as he did given the Great Depression issues of the time and our entry into WWII.
It is interesting that the six Presidents before FDR were all relatively heavy users of Executive Orders with from 145 per year for Teddy Roosevelt to FDR’s 307 per year.
Given the initial pace of Executive Orders issued by President Trump, he could become a President averaging 80 or more per year. And given his obstructors in Congress, that number could be even higher. He has not been shy about making use of this tool.