It's not quite signing statements, where President George W. Bush used legal means to "interpret" laws, allowing him to avoid Congressional directives, but the White House is now planning to implement as much new policy "as it can" by administrative order "after concluding that President Bush cannot do much business with the Democratic leadership."
According to officials who spoke to the Washington Post, Bush blames Democrats for the holdup of Judge Michael Muskasey's nomination as attorney general, the failure to pass budget bills and an inability to reach compromise on child healthcare.
Bush vetoed the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, saying Democrats hadn't found a way to offset spending for the expansion of the program. Democrats have reservations about Mukasey because he has refused to denounce the president's policy on waterboarding.
"White House aides say the only way Bush seems to be able to influence the process is by vetoing legislation or by issuing administrative orders, as he has in recent weeks on veterans' health care, air-traffic congestion, protecting endangered fish and immigration," the Post authors write. "They say they expect Bush to issue more of such orders in the next several months, even as he speaks out on the need to limit spending and resist any tax increases."
House Democrats disagree with Bush's assessments.
The article gave little information about Bush's plans for administrative orders, focusing mostly on Congressional infighting and legislative disagreements between the White House and Congress.
On Wednesday, a diarist at the liberal blog Daily Kos noted that administrative orders differ from executive orders and directives, citing a University of Tulsa research document on executive power.
"Administrative Orders include numbered documents called determinations, and notices or memorandum designated by date," the document states. "These orders often concern foreign policy decisions but may also include management decisions made by the President that concern Executive Departments."
Recent examples of such documents, as listed by the National Archives, include "Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Significant Narcotics Traffickers Centered in Colombia," "Memorandum on Waiver and Certification of Statutory Provisions Regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization Office," and "Memorandum on Waiver of Limitation on Obligation and Expenditure of $1,051.6 Million in Fiscal Year 2007 Economic Support Funds for Iraq."
"Given Bush's dubious track record over the past seven-years, I get the distinct and ominous feeling this has more to do with Congress' hesitation to green light a preemptive attack on Iran than it does with the amount of work Congress is doing overall," the Kos diarist remarks.The full Post article can be read here.