President Barack Obama has signed 33 percent more “presidential memoranda” in less than six years than former President George W. Bush did in eight, USA Today reports. Little-mentioned presidential memoranda has the same force of law as executive orders, but Obama has seemingly been able to downplay the extent of his executive orders by using the former.
Because of this fact, USA Today reports that Obama is “on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the ‘Do Nothing Congress’ almost seven decades ago.”
During the first six years in office, Obama has reportedly issued 198 presidential memoranda — more than any other president in history. Additionally, he has issued 195 executive orders, according to USA Today.
Obama has previously dismissed critics’ concerns that he is using his executive authority too liberally, many times pointing to Bush’s use of executive orders to downplay his own use of the power.
Just like executive orders, presidential memoranda do not require any congressional approval and carry the force of law. The report suggests that some of Obama’s “most significant actions” have come via presidential memoranda.
USA Today provides several examples of significant presidential memoranda issued by Obama:
• In his State of the Union Address in January, Obama proposed a new retirement savings account for low-income workers called a MyRA. The next week, he issued a presidential memorandum to the Treasury Department instructing it to develop a pilot program.
• In April, Obama directed the Department of Labor to collect salary data from federal contractors and subcontractors to monitor whether they're paying women and minorities fairly.
• In June, Obama told the Department of Education to allow certain borrowers to cap their student loan payments at 10% of income.
Presidential scholar Phillip Cooper told the publication that presidential memoranda are merely "executive orders by another name, and yet unique."
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Pittsburgh declared that President Barack Obama's recent executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional.
President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Wisconsin Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke at North Division High School on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab says Obama's order in November designed to spare millions living illegally in the United States from deportation amounts to "unilateral legislative action" in violation of the Constitution. Schwab issued his opinion Tuesday in a criminal case involving an immigrant here illegally from Honduras.
The administration has said the new policy does not apply to criminal cases. The Justice Department called Schwab's analysis "flatly wrong" and said he had no basis for his opinion because no one in the case had challenged the constitutionality of the president's actions.
Read more about Obama's executive actions here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.