President Barack Obama is expected to use his State of the Union address Tuesday evening as an opportunity to talk up the Democratic agenda and reiterate his own ambitions for the sixth year of his Presidency. Obama will likely present a laundry list of goals as well as an explanation of his plan to use executive orders to accomplish as much as he can.
Amid increasing uses of the phrase “lame-duck” in discussions about the remaining years of his Presidency, Obama recently vowed to work around Congressional obstruction by using his “pen and phone” to get things done through executive order.
During his speech, Obama is expected to explain in further detail how he plans to enact his will using a range of powers which, in addition to formal executive orders, include Presidential directives and agency rule-making authority.
Obama will have to ask for Congress’s help for efforts to expand unemployment insurance and pass immigration reform legislation in the year ahead — but his Administration has repeatedly said that the President will bypass Congress on whatever else he can.
“The president … is not going to tell the American people that he’s going to wait for Congress,” Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer told CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” program.
“He’s going to move forward in areas like job training, education, manufacturing, on his own to try to restore opportunity for American families,” Pfeiffer said.
Last week, former Obama climate czar Heather Zichal indicated that the President will be especially prolific in enacting unilateral climate policies.
“Whether it’s 129, 200 or 72, the number of executive actions is going to be robust,” Zichal said.
Following 2013 failures to convince Congress to pass strict gun control laws, immigration reform and income inequality initiatives, the White House is indicating that it will gauge success in 2014 by what the President is able to do without America’s lawmakers.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently expressed what many conservatives are feeling as the State of the Union Speech appears poised to serve as a venue for the President to dare Republicans to obstruct his agenda.
“It sounds vaguely like a threat and I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance in the sense that one of the fundamental principles of our country were the checks and balances,” Paul said.
“Welcome to the real world. It’s hard to convince people to get legislation through. It takes consensus. But that’s what he needs to be doing is building consensus and not taking his pen and creating law,” he said.
Following the President’s speech, a bevy of separate GOP rebuttals is scheduled. The official GOP response will be delivered by Representative Cathy McMorris (Wash.) and Senator Mike Lee (Utah) will deliver a Tea Party response. The final, and likely the harshest, rebuttal to Obama’s announced power grab will come from Paul.
Be sure to visit Personal Liberty Digest™ Tuesday night for coverage of the President’s speech and GOP response.