President Barack Obama and his advisers are signaling that he plans to use his executive powers more than ever this year, bypassing congressional Republicans who oppose his agenda.
“In some ways, he feels liberated by having the last election behind him,” Democratic pollster Geoff Garin tells me. This means he can do much of what he wants without the fear of an immediate electoral backlash, Garin says.
“Barack Obama is an executive-power president, free from the straightjacket of a midterm election, ready to make the most out of his last two years in office,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told CBS News.
Obama says he wants to cooperate with Congress to pass legislation on the budget, trade, education, and rebuilding roads, bridges and other parts of the nation’s infrastructure. But he warns that he won’t back down from taking additional unilateral actions, such as his recent moves to impose more sanctions on North Korea for allegedly hacking into Sony’s computer systems; his decision to stop deporting millions of people who entered the United States illegally; his plans to start normalizing relations with Cuba, and his administration’s moves to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.