I'm looking for some clarification in a certain feature of the American system of governance: the executive order. I'm sure that WB contributors can answer my questions.
It is my understanding that the American president is far from a dictator, forcing his will on the people for the four years after his inauguration. To enact his or her political agenda, the president has work with Congress to get things done. Congress is one of those checks-and-balances to thwart a dictator-like thinking. The greater presidents were pretty skillful and used various talents to getting majority votes in both houses in Congress. But these political masters also understood they couldn't push things fully their way. They knew where the informal boundaries were--both in Congress and with the public. Hence, the greater presidents kind of got things done their way, but compromises were made.
I also understood that the executive part of governance sometimes requires decisions to be made on a fairly immediate basis. To put all decisions in the hands of Congress means certain decisions which need to be made on a timely basis will not made on a timely basis.
So the president has the authority to make some decisions without the approval of Congress. I don't see the exact presidential jurisdiction in the Constitution, so I am surmising that the boundaries for the president to make decisions without Congress have been previously determined by Congress. But I could be wrong here.
When a president makes such a decision, it is known as an executive order.
Coming from Canada and only occasionally watching American news outlets, I can't recall executive orders being issued that much. From what I can gather, Mr. Obama was pretty good at issuing these executive orders in his two terms, whereas previous presidents were fairly hesitant about using this power. Mr. Trump, by using so many executive orders, is only continuing Mr. Obama's legacy. But I could be wrong here.
About a month ago, Mr. Trump issued an executive order that allowed petroleum companies to develop more oilfields on both the west and east coast. To my way of thinking, this was not a decision that should be regarded as timely: it will take five to ten years to bring any new oilfields into production. So a six-month delay to get approval from Congress is a moot point. But why is this realm of governance given to executive order? Especially when tax cuts require approval of Congress?
Is there any way to rescind an executive order? Other than elect a different president who will sign another executive order to rescind the previous order?
What does it say about the state of democracy when governance by executive order becomes the normal operations in USA?