Contrary to GOP/Tea Party Spin, Pres. Obama Has Issued Fewer Than 200 Executive Orders – Bush, Who Had a ‘Rubberstamp Congress,’ Issued 291
Here are the actual numbers of executive orders Issued by all presidents since 1901

In a gambit to lay the groundwork for impeachment, the GOP leadership has announced plans to sue Pres. Obama on grounds that he has abused his authority by issuing executive orders to implement policies.

In their single terms in office, Republican presidents Theodore Roosevelt issued 1,081 EOs, Calvin Coolidge issued 1,203 orders and Herbert Hoover issued 968. Richard Nixon issued 346 EOs in his five years in office, and tea-party patron saint Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders during his two terms.

In support of the lawsuit, the usual suspects on the right have been making outrageous claims about the number of executive orders the president has issued — the most extravagant of which asserts that he’s issued more than 900 so-called EOs. The actual number is much lower, fewer than 200, so far. By contrast, George W. Bush signed 291 EOs.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. president who issued the most executive orders was Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat who served four terms. Republican presidents have issued more than their share of EOs, too, of course. In their single terms, Republicans Theodore Roosevelt issued 1,081 EOs, Calvin Coolidge issued 1,203 orders and Herbert Hoover issued 968. Richard Nixon issued 346 EOs in his five years in office, and tea-party patron saint Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders during his two terms.

The chart below shows the exact numbers for all presidents going back to 1901. To see a complete list going back to Pres. Washington, visit the American Presidency Project.

Number of Executive Orders Issued by Presidents Since 1901

Source: The American Presidency Project

President Term Total Orders EO Number Range
Theodore Roosevelt

Total

1,081  
William Howard Taft Total 724  
Woodrow Wilson

Total

1,803  
Warren G. Harding Total 522  
Calvin Coolidge

Total

1,203  
Herbert Hoover Total 968 5075 – 6070
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Total

3,522 6071 – 9537
Harry S. Truman Total 907
9538 – 10431
I 504 9538 – 10029
II 403 10030 – 10431
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Total

484 10432 – 10913
I 266 10432 – 10695-A
II 218 10696 – 10913
John F. Kennedy Total 214 10914 – 11127
Lyndon B. Johnson

Total

325 11128 – 11451
Richard Nixon Total 346 11452 – 11797
I 247 11452 – 11698
II 99 11699 – 11797
Gerald R. Ford

Total

169 11798 – 11966
Jimmy Carter Total 320 11967 – 12286
Ronald Reagan

Total

381 12287 – 12667
I 213 12287 – 12499
II 168 12500 – 12667
George Bush Total 166 12668 – 12833
William J. Clinton

Total

364 12834 – 13197
I 200 12834 – 13033
II 164 13034 – 13197
George W. Bush Total 291 13198 – 13488
I 173 13198 – 13370
II 118 13371 – 13488
Barack Obama

Total

168 13489 – 13656…
I 147 13489 – 13635
  II 21 13636 – 13656…

 

Nearly all Pres. Obama’s executive orders have been crafted to circumvent Republican obstructionism on issues that majorities of Americans support. George W. Bush’s motive was quite different. He had no need to circumvent the legislative process because he presided over the infamous “Rubberstamp Congress” that readily passed just about every piece of legislation he supported. His purpose in issuing EOs was, in fact, to consolidate power in the Executive Branch, which is what the GOP is accusing Pres. Obama of doing now — and which Republicans now appear to have deemed an impeachable offense.

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