Why We Have Executive Orders AND Laws

Why We Have Executive Orders AND Laws

(JustPatriots.com) – Every president has a number of tools in their box to steer the country in the direction they want it to go. They can rally Congress to have significant and impactful legislation passed, of course. But, they can also issue executive orders to help do the same thing.

What Is an Executive Order?

An executive order may seem like a law to the average person, but it isn’t. It’s actually a directive the president issues to guide the agencies that fall under the executive branch.

For example, the commander-in-chief might issue an executive order directing Homeland Security to cancel the visas of certain groups of people in order to protect national security. Or, he might issue one that orders the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to find extra funds to help people in government housing pay their rent.

These orders are binding until the next president takes office. Then, that POTUS gets to decide what they want to keep or undo. What they decide depends on their own ideology and what they feel is best for the country.

On the Other Hand….

Laws, on the other hand, are binding until Congress decides to make a change. The president could, in theory, make an executive order permanent if he convinces the House and Senate to pass legislation.

Laws are the only way a president can make lasting change. That’s because the Founding Fathers did not want the executive branch to have too much power. They’d seen what happened when one person controls an entire country. They didn’t want that to happen in America. Instead, the power to pass legislation was delegated to Congress, and the president has to sign a bill to become a law.

If the legislative branch objects to an executive order, they could pass a law superseding it. If the president refuses to sign, lawmakers could override his veto and push it through anyway. They could also sue to get the case in front of the Supreme Court, and the justices could rule that a particular directive is unconstitutional.

Basically, an executive order is a great tool, but it’s not a law. The other branches of government could block the president from putting policies into place if they really want to.

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