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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/19/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Congressional hearings, floor debates have been replaced with closed meetings for invitees

Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors. Unilateral action on such issues as immigration, gay rights and tax policy has encouraged lobbies and businesses to approach the administration with their policy "wish lists."

Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors

Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/19/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Transparency, executive decisions, lobbies, President Obama


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We look at what they've been doing with executive action and are deeply concerned, and have focused a lot of our energies on how we can roll back these things," Geoff Burr, the vice president of federal affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors says. Burr's companies do 60 percent of federal construction jobs.

An executive order issued by the president last month that would block companies with a history of workplace violations from receiving federal contracts had prompted his group to contemplate "the virtues of a litigation strategy."

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

As such, the list of requests from special interests is growing. Technology companies want the president to provide more visas for their workers, or more flexibility until they can claim citizenship status.

In the meantime, consumer groups and organized labor want the Treasury Department to act unilaterally to limit financial incentives for companies that move overseas for tax breaks and stop so-called inversions. "During your State of the Union address, you stated that you want to make 2014 a 'year of action,'??" Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, wrote to Obama in March. The letter requested that he issue an executive order banning the import of assault or military weapons.

Obama has been inclusive in regards to his leadership, reaching out to lawmakers, experts and business leaders for a wide range of perspectives to inform his plans for executive actions.

The president has been forthright about his using a "pen and phone" to advance his agenda during his State of the Union address last January.

The public has received a glimpse of the process from time to time. Talks have usually occurred behind the scenes. Administration officials have convened more than 20 so-called listening sessions this summer alone on executive options for revising immigration policy, according to one White House official said.

Activists and business groups that stand to gain from the moves are eagerly providing the White House with their side of the case.

While claiming transparency, the "go-it-alone" approach has left the administration essentially making policy from the White House, replacing congressional hearings and floor debates with closed meetings for invited constituencies.

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