WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Did President Joe Biden sign more executive orders in his first week than any past president did in that same time period?
Yes. The Verify team looked through a pair of databases that track presidential executive orders. They showed that President Biden issued 22 executive orders in his first week, along with many presidential proclamations and memorandums.
This compares to four executive orders issued in President Trump's first week, five by President Obama, and zero by President George W. Bush.
Since taking office, President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders. Many of these actions were reversals of President Trump's policies. Others were meant to set a new tone in Washington.
The swift action has prompted praise from those on the left, and ire from those on the right. Many critics have posted to social media that they are upset by the unilateral action.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, tweeted criticism on President Biden's executive orders.
The Verify team looked into the numbers, to find out if Biden's pace of executive orders have differed from past administrations. The Federal Register tracks executive orders since President Bill Clinton, whereas The American Presidency Project tracks executive orders since President John Quincy Adams.
The Verify team also looked through the list of presidential actions, listed on the White House website.
Here were the results for the last eight administrations:
- President Joe Biden: 22 executive orders in first week
- President Donald Trump: 4 executive orders in first week
- President Barack Obama: 5 executive orders in first week
- President George W. Bush: 0 executive orders in first week
- President Bill Clinton: 2 executive orders in first week
- President George Bush Sr: 1 executive order in first week
- President Ronald Reagan: 0 executive orders in first week
- President Jimmy Carter: 1 executive order in first week
The data also shows that President Joe Biden has started out at a pace that is far faster than recent administrations. For context, the Verify team spoke with Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University.
"He's on a record pace," Lichtman said. "And not by a nose. But by several lengths, he is on a record pace."
Many of these Biden executive orders were reversals of President Trump's previous orders. By their very nature, executive orders tend to be temporary, since new administrations can reverse them with a stroke of a pen.
Lichtman noted that increasingly presidents are relying on executive orders, due to the inability to pass legislation in Congress. Democrats currently have a razor-thin majority, with a 50-50 split, broken by a vote by Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Given the tenuousness of the Democrats grip on Congress," Lichtman said. "It's not surprising to see Biden take the executive order route."
In President Trump's first term, he issued 220 executive orders, equivalent to 55 per year, according to the American Presidency Project website. This compares to 276 by President Obama in two terms, which averages to 35 per year.
Here are the numbers for the last eight administrations:
- President Donald Trump: 220 executive orders (1 Term) - 55 per year
- President Barack Obama: 276 executive orders (2 Terms) - 35 per year
- President George W. Bush: 291 executive orders (2 Terms) - 36 per year
- President Bill Clinton: 364 executive orders (2 Terms) - 46 per year
- President George Bush Sr: 166 executive orders (1 Term) - 42 per year
- President Ronald Reagan: 381 executive orders (2 Terms) - 48 per year
- President Jimmy Carter: 320 executive orders (1 Term) - 80 per year
Lichtman said that he doesn't expect Biden to keep going at the pace he has, but that the amount accomplis
"I don't expect Biden to keep up this pace," said Lichtman. "But it's nonetheless quite extraordinary. And what's also extraordinary is that these are not minor administrative matters. He has issued executive orders of great, substantive import."
To look over the full list of Executive Orders, visit here.