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February 11, 2013

Obama Considering Using More Executive Orders in Second Term

Posted in: Barack Obama

Faced with a Republican controlled House and only a long shot chance of Democrats taking the chamber in 2014, President Obama is thinking about more aggressively using executive orders in his second term. From the Washington Post:

President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants, according to people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues.

One of the first orders is expected this week, when the Obama administration will call for the creation of new standards on what critical private-sector companies should do to protect their computer systems from hackers.

It is possible that freed from the constraints of ever having to run for office again, Obama might be more willing to adopt some big, controversial executive orders, but for now I remain skeptical.

This “new” push sounds nearly identically to the big “We Can’t Wait” policy initiative campaign Obama launched in 2011. That turned out to be mostly a collection of very modest changes that was more PR than substance.

Not wanting to poison the well on possible bipartisan legislation has been the most popular administration excuse for inaction.  But the fact that immigration reform seems likely this year — even though Obama took unilateral action to help the DREAM activists — may have helped to convince the White House that concern was overvalued.


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