December 19, 2008
professor part of executive order proposal from progressive group
The Obama transition team has been bombarded with lists of things the President-elect should do once he takes office in January. One list of “top ten things Obama needs to do” bouncing around the Internet includes increasing federal taxes on guns and ammunition, and to tax religious organizations that discriminate in hiring — both, of which, have “court battle” written all over them.
More thought out is a proposal from the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) of seven executive orders President Obama could issue during his first 100 days in office. The Maryland-based nonprofit think tank, founded in 2002, relies on a nationwide network of member scholars organized in committees that “work in Issue Groups organized around four issues areas: Achieving a New Progressive Agenda, Clean Science, Government Accountability and Corporate Liability and Accountability.”
Kansas University law professor Robert L. Glicksman is a CPR member scholar and also on the seven-member CPR Board of Directors. Glicksman said he was asked to join and was involved in creating the CPR.
“The organization is attractive to me because it supports thoughtful government action and reform to advance protection of the public health and the environment,” Glicksman stated in an email.
“CPR supports both private and public sector decisions that result in improved protection of consumers, public health and safety, and the environment.”
The CPR report titled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President’s First 100 Days” was co-edited by Glicksman. Issued in early November, the report was circulated to members and staff in Congress, other advocacy groups in addition to Obama’s transition team.
In a press release from KU News, Glicksman said the report has two things in common.
“First, they are all areas that cry out for a different policy direction that provides greater protection for public health, safety and the environment than currently exists or that creates greater opportunities for public input into governmental policymaking processes.
“Second, they all involve areas in which the president can achieve the results we suggest by acting unilaterally through the issuance of executive orders. No congressional participation is necessary…”
Using the executive order process, said Glicksman in the email, allows the President to act quickly “without having to run the gauntlet of the legislative process.”
Matthew Freeman, a spokesperson for the Center for Progressive Reform, said in an email that some of the items “are specifically in response to actions by the Bush administration that was accomplished by Executive Order or less formal means.” Freeman added that the CPR “certainly tried” to influence the Bush administration’s regulatory agenda, however with the incoming Obama administration, “It’s our first chance to focus on agenda-setting for that unique period in an administration’s life.”
The CPR proposed executive orders would:
Freeman from the CPR said the organization has not heard from the Obama team and does not know how the administration will proceed after January 20, the date when Barack Obama is sworn in as president.
Glicksman stresses that the CPR also supports the use of legislation to address these issues, and “The (executive) orders we propose do not directly affect activities conducted by individuals or businesses in the private sector.”
Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at publisher_editeKC@kcactive.com.
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