(PresidentialInsider.com) – The president of the United States has a lot of power, but making law isn’t part of that. That’s up to Congress, even though it sometimes feels like they are too dysfunctional to complete the most basic task. However, the commander-in-chief isn’t completely powerless when it comes to driving policy in the country. Although he can’t make laws, he can do something.
Presidents are in charge of the Executive Branch and all of the departments under it. That includes Homeland Security, the Departments of Justice, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, and many more. Pretty much every federal agency, with few exceptions, falls under the commander-in-chief’s purview.
The POTUS issues executive orders (EOs) to guide policy in the departments under his umbrella. These directives let the heads of the agencies know what the president wants them to do. For instance, he might issue an EO that tells the Department of Education to look for funding to better serve children with disabilities in a more comprehensive manner.
Are EOs Binding?
Yes, they are, but only temporarily. The orders are only guaranteed while the president is in office or Congress allows them to stand.
Each incoming president has the right to run the Executive Branch in the way they see fit. That might mean they keep some of their predecessors’ orders or completely do away with them.
Congress is also able to block a president’s directives, as well. They could pass a law that overrides the executive order. Or they could pass a law that cements the EO and gives it more permanency. The courts can also void the orders if they deem them unconstitutional.
To implement policies for the benefit of the nation, the president issues executive orders to guide his departments in the direction he’d like policy to go. Only Congress, the next president, and the courts can stop the directives from going into effect. Although they aren’t permanent, they are temporarily binding. And ultimately, some of the best policies come from those pieces of paper with the commander-in-chief’s signature.
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