Today, I got a shocking flashback to my 4th grade social studies class when I was reminded that the Executive Branch of the Government is responsible for enforcing the laws that Congress has written. Crazy stuff…I know.
In today’s case, President Obama has decided to enforce the (13 month old) Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007. Sure, the Bush Administration may have signed the Act into law, but that doesn’t mean that the Department of Transportation did much to bring the country towards the 35 mpg by 2020 automobile fuel efficiency standard (“CAFE standards”) that the bill laid out. President Bush essentially punted to Obama, and now Obama hasn’t wasted any time in giving the newly-confirmed Secretary of Transportation LaHood his first marching orders.
“Less than a week into his term, President Obama today signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize CAFE standards for 2011 model year vehicles and to proceed expeditiously on setting standards for later years. CAFE is a top priority for this Administration, and the Department of Transportation and its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are poised to move quickly on new fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks.”
It’s especially interesting for me to see how quickly the new President is moving on multiple CAFE issues. Back in 2005, I signed up to be added to his mailing list after reading about how some young Senator from Illinois was working hard to reverse the 17-year freeze that had been put on raising the CAFE standard. It looks like he’s making quick work in following through on his rhetoric in the Senate and promises on the campaign trail.