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The George W. Bush Presidency and Political Control of the Bureaucracy

30 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 2 Sep 2009

David M. Hedge

University of Florida

Date Written: 2009


During its eight years in office, the presidency of George W. Bush worked mightily to expand and exercise its control over the federal bureaucracy, including federal agencies on the domestic side of government. Those efforts at control reflected a number of considerations including a desire to restore the unitary executive, a business approach to management, a pro-business approach to regulation, a belief in smart regulation, and a disdain for federal bureaucrats. Those considerations led the president to employ a number of tools including appointments, regulatory review, presidential signing statements, executive orders, reorganization, and budgets. The administration’s record of accomplishment is mixed. The Bush administration was able to achieve a great deal of control over the regulatory process and the character of federal regulation. At the same time, the president encountered many of the same obstacles that his predecessors faced including opposition from those within the administration, Congress, the states, policy activists and the courts.

Keywords: presidential control of the bureaucracy, presidential power, regulatory policy

Suggested Citation

Hedge, David M., The George W. Bush Presidency and Political Control of the Bureaucracy (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

David M. Hedge (Contact Author)

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117325
Gainesville, FL 32611-7325
United States

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