I send out my weekly e-newsletter to give you honest, accurate information about what is going on in Washington that you may not know about. On March 30th I sent out my e-newsletter on an Executive Order issued by the President. I received an overwhelming response. I wanted to take a moment to clarify some confusion caused by my e-newsletter.
As I mentioned in the e-newsletter, the Executive Order is constitutional. The practice of issuing Executive Orders on emergency preparedness and national emergencies dates back to President Franklin Roosevelt. More recent Executive Orders on national defense resources preparedness rely in part on a 1950 authorization law; the Defense Production Act of 1950. As I mentioned, past presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have issued such orders in the past. It is incorrect to say, as I did in my March 30th letter, that this level of power is totally unprecedented.
I also wanted to clarify that the President cannot "take over" industries under this Executive Order. It is conceivable that in the case of a national emergency, private industry could be required to contract with the federal government to ensure that supplies and equipment are able to meet the demand of our armed forces. Federal government contracts will have to come before any private contracts, but cabinet secretaries will not become the CEOs of private firms.
If it appears that the President has exceeded his constitutional boundaries, he can be challenged in federal court. Congress could also amend the powers given to the President by adjusting the initial legislation or allowing it to expire the next time it is up for reauthorization.
President Obama's Executive Order appears to continue the trend of modifying previous Executive Orders on emergency preparedness and national defense resources preparedness. There are only a few changes President Obama incorporated -- such as changes to the definitions of resources covered by the law -- that have been included in his order.
I believe this is an Executive Order that needed to be brought to the public's attention because it is important the public is aware of what Executive Orders are being issued and when; especially when there is little-to-no media coverage. You can follow all of the issued Executive Orders of this Administration by visiting the White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/.
Member of Congress