How Does a Presidential Executive Order Work?

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On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden was sworn into office around midday and, by the time the sun was setting over the White House, he was already hard at work in the Oval Office, where he signed 15 executive orders. By January 29, President Biden’s total stood at 22 executive orders — plus 10 presidential memos and four proclamations. According to The American President Project, this is more than his most recent predecessors.

No matter the president, executive orders remain a somewhat contentious topic. Not only do they set a precedent in terms of presidential power, but these directives can be used to help an administration spotlight the key tenets of its agenda. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the history of executive orders in the United States and how the Biden administration has implemented them thus far.