WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top aides to President-elect Barack Obama are reviewing some 200 executive orders issued by President Bush, with an eye toward Obama possibly reversing many of them soon after he takes office in January.
Obama's transition-chief, John Podesta, said Sunday that review includes presidential orders involving stem cell research, oil and gas drilling, and other major issues.
Podesta said the idea is that the new president could quickly accomplish many of his goals by either reversing earlier executive orders or issuing new ones, without having to wait for congressional approval.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Podesta also says Obama is working on selecting a Cabinet that is diverse. He said that includes reaching out to Republicans and independents -- part of the broad coalition that supported Obama, during his race against Republican John McCain.
As for new legislation to aid the economy, Podesta said it would be up to President Bush to help move any such proposal during a planned post-election session of Congress.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that a team of about four-dozen Obama advisers have been working on the review of existing executive orders, to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration on a wide range of issues that also include climate change and reproductive rights. The paper said that team is consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs.
In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.
Dan Mendelson, a former associate administrator for health in the Clinton administration's Office of Management and Budget, told the paper the kinds of regulations the Obama people are looking at are those that were imposed by President Bush for what they consider "overtly political" reasons, in pursuit of what Democrats say was a partisan Republican agenda.
Obama has already signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research -- a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases, such as Parkinson's.
Bush's August 2001 decision pleased religious conservatives, who have moral objections to the use of cells from days-old human embryos, which are destroyed in the process.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says the new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal.
When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he rescinded that Reagan-era regulation -- but when Bush became President, he re-imposed it.
The president-elect has also said he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration's decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.