Every president from George Washington to Donald Trump has issued at least one executive order (with the exception of William Harrison who died just 31 days into his presidency) and yet the U.S. Constitution doesn't even mention executive orders. So how did the use of this legislative loophole become such an accepted part of the job? Well, we can thank Franklin Roosevelt for that.
Back at the chalkboard, Glenn Beck broke down the progression of the executive order over the years and discussed which US Presidents have been the "worst offenders."
"It's hard to judge our worst presidential overreachers on sheer numbers alone," said Glenn. "However, it's not a shock that FDR issued by far the most of any president."
Our first 15 presidents issued a combined total of 143. By comparison, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3721, more than twice the next runner up, Woodrow Wilson, at 1803.
"Next to FDR, no other president in our history attempted to reshape so much of American life by decree, until we get to this guy: President Obama," Glenn explained. "He didn't issue 3000, or even 1800; he did 276 executive orders, but it was the power of those orders. He instituted 560 major regulations classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having 'significant economic or social impacts.' That's 50 percent more regulations than George W. Bush's presidency -- and remember, everybody thought he was a fascist."
President Obama blamed an obstructionist Congress for forcing him to bypass the legislative process. By executive order, President Obama decreed the U.S. join the Paris Climate Accord, DACA, the Clean Power Plan and transgender restrooms. He also authorized spying in US citizens through section 702 of FISA, used the IRS to target political opponents and ordered military action in Libya without Congressional permission.
All of these changes were accepted by the very people who now condemn President Trump for his use of executive orders -- many of which were issued to annul President Obama's executive orders, just as President Obama annulled President Bush's executive orders when he took office ... and therein lies the rub with executive orders.
"That's not the way it's supposed to work, nor would we ever want it to be," said Glenn. "We have to have the Constitution and laws need to originate in Congress."
Watch the video at the top of the page to find out more.
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