President Barack Obama has signed an executive order giving most federal workers the day off on Friday, Dec. 26, the day after Christmas.
Obama's decision to use an executive order contrasts with his decision to use a series of executive actions to implement his immigration plan last month. Obama announced his immigration actions on Nov. 20, which prompted some criticism from Republicans in the following days that he chose a less formal route to implement a much more sweeping and controversial initiative on immigration.
But his executive order — #13682 from Dec. 5 — is far more formal, and is parceled out into five sections. The first says all federal offices will be closed on Dec. 26, and "excused from duty" except for those related to national security, defense, and other important functions. Those are outlined in section 2.
Additionally, the order is signed by Obama, something that was missing from his executive actions on immigration.
There increasingly appears to be few differences between executive actions and executive orders. In fact, the biggest might be the way they are presented to the public — executive orders are more formal documents that the president signs, while actions are more like memos outlining a policy in a less formal way.
But both instruct the government to do certain things, so practically, they are the same. "They differ in that executive orders must be published in the Federal Register whereas presidential memoranda are similarly published only if the President determines that they have a 'general applicability and legal effect,' " said a 1999 report from the Congressional Research Service.
Read Obama's executive order giving federal workers the day off here: