From the Summary: "Executive orders and proclamations are used extensively by Presidents to achieve policy goals, set uniform standards for managing the executive branch, or outline a policy view intended to influence the behavior of private citizens. The Constitution does not define these presidential instruments and does not explicitly vest the President with the authority to issue them. Nonetheless, such orders are accepted as an inherent aspect of presidential power, and, if based on appropriate authority, they have the force and effect of law. This report discusses the nature of executive orders and proclamations, with a focus on the scope of presidential authority to execute such instruments and judicial and congressional responses to their issuance. This report also discusses an issue that has arisen recently--whether a President would be able to waive parts of the health care reform law through an executive order or other administrative actions. Whether a particular executive order addressing a mandatory or discretionary action in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would be upheld as a valid presidential action would depend on the content of the order itself, as well as constitutional considerations and the content of the specific congressional delegation of authority. […] Finally, the 112th Congress has held and planned hearings and introduced legislation in response to a draft executive order that would require entities submitting offers for federal contracts to disclose certain political 'contributions' and 'expenditures.'"
CRS Report for Congress, RS20846