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An Executive Order (E.O.) is one formal way the President directs executive branch agencies, except for independent agencies, to act. Presidents also issue Proclamations which can contain requirements, although in recent years most Presidents have used Proclamations only for announcing ceremonial events like Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, and National Country Music Week. They also issue Presidential memoranda, which have a little less formality, but are still binding on executive officials.

While Executive Orders are directed to officials in the executive branch of government, and do not provide the public with judicially enforceable rights, an Executive Order can have important indirect impacts on private citizens. Since the time of President Nixon, one important use of Executive Orders has been to assert White House review over executive agency rulemakings. President Clinton's E.O. 12866, "Regulatory Planning and Review," issued September 30, 1993, is the latest such Executive Order. (See Presidential Review.)

This glossary was first compiled by The Regulatory Group, Inc., for its training courses more than 20 years ago. It is constantly being amended and revised to stay current with the developments in the Federal regulatory process. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions on how this glossary can be further improved.
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