President Joe Biden (D) signed 28 executive orders, 11 presidential memoranda, and five proclamations in his first two weeks in office.
That is more executive orders than his three predecessors combined—Presidents Donald Trump (R), Barack Obama (D), and George W. Bush (R)—signed over the same period of time.
Executive orders are directives written by the president to officials within the executive branch requiring them to take or stop some action related to policy or management. They are numbered, published in the Federal Register, and cite the authority by which the president is making the order.
Presidential memoranda also include instructions directed at executive officials, but they are neither numbered nor have the same publication requirements. The Office of Management and Budget is also not required to issue a budgetary impact statement on the subject of the memoranda.
In his 2014 book, By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action, Phillip J. Cooper, a professor of public administration at Portland State University, wrote, “As a practical matter, the memorandum is now being used as the equivalent of an executive order, but without meeting the legal requirements for an executive order.”
Proclamations are a third type of executive directive that typically relate to private individuals or ceremonial events, such as holidays and commemorations.