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President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than most presidents in the last 50 years

Republicans have criticized Obama for saying he'll use executive authority, but he has actually issued far less than his predecessors in the last 50 years.
President Obama Works In The Oval Office At The White House
U.S. President Barack Obama sits at his desk in the Oval Office Jan. 27, 2014 at the White House in Washington, DC.

President Obama has been under fire from some Republicans for pledging to exercise his executive authority, but he has actually issued far less executive orders than his predecessors in the last 50 years. While President Obama signed one of several executive actions Tuesday to create new retirement accounts to encourage savings, Republicans criticized the executive branch for asserting executive powers. 

"If he wants to move forward with this unilateral activity, he better be prepared for the lawsuit that the United States Congress will bring to him, He may think he's king, he may declare he's a king, but that's not what he is under the Constitution," said Rep. Michele Bachmann.  

"We’re going to watch very closely, because there’s a Constitution that we all take an oath to, including him, and following the Constitution is the basis for House Republicans," Speaker John Boehner said.

On Wednesday, Boehner confirmed that House Republicans will consider lawsuits against the president over the executive orders during their annual retreat. 

According to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, President Obama ranks second from the bottom to every other president after World War II. At 168, Obama has issued two more executive orders than George H.W. Bush. President John F. Kennedy issued 214, George W. Bush issued 291, Bill Clinton signed 364, and Ronald Reagan had 381. The presidents with the highest numbers were Dwight Eisenhower with 484 and Harry S. Truman with 907.