This is just one of many actions taken by Bush to increase the power of the presidency. He also appoints people such as Gonzales who interpret the president's powers very broadly--perhaps one might say "liberally"!
NY Times: Bush signs landmark executive order increasing power over federal agencies
Published: Monday January 29, 2007
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President George W. Bush has given his administration a boost in how the government regulates key issues such as civil rights and the environment, The New York Times will report on its Tuesday front page.
The President "signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules that the federal government develops to regulate public health, safety," privacy and other issues, writes Robert Pear for the Times.
Pear reports that "in an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Bush said that each federal agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee" who will monitor the creation of process and procedures and the associated documentation.
"The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency," Pear writes, "to analyze the costs and benefits of new rules and to make sure they carry out the president's priorities."
Excerpts from the Times article follow...
This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.
The White House said the executive order was not meant to rein in any one agency. But business executives and consumer advocates said the administration was particularly concerned about rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Business groups welcomed the executive order, saying it had the potential to reduce what they saw as the burden of federal regulations. This burden is of great concern to many groups, including small businesses, that have given strong political and financial backing to Bush.
Consumer, labor and environmental groups denounced the executive order, saying it gave too much control to the White House and would hinder agencies' efforts to protect the public.