White House: Obama may bypass Congress to force through agenda
Increased political gridlock has the President thinking about avoiding Congress altogether to the extent that he can
January 26, 2014 3:54PM ET
White House is eyeing compromise on some priorities, but also looking at executive orders that can be enacted without Congress' approval.Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
President Barack Obama is prepared to circumvent lawmakers in a bid to get his second term agenda through an intransigent Congress, his top advisers warned Sunday in previewing Tuesday's State of the Union speech.
Obama faces a politically divided Congress on Tuesday and will use his annual address to demand expanded economic opportunity. Absent legislative action, the White House is telling lawmakers that the president is ready to take unilateral action to close the gap between rich and poor Americans.
"I think the way we have to think about this year is we have a divided government," said Dan Pfeiffer, a longtime Obama adviser. "The Republican Congress is not going to rubber-stamp the president's agenda. The president is not going to sign the Republican Congress' agenda."
So the White House is eyeing compromise on some priorities, Obama advisers said. But the president is also looking at executive orders that can be enacted without Congress' approval.
"The president sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
The act-or-else posture bristled Republicans.
"The president has sort of hung out on the left and tried to get what he wants through the bureaucracy as opposed to moving to the political center," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP Senate leader.
Added Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: "It sounds vaguely like a threat, and I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance."