Obama Promises Action, With Or Without Congress

In his State of the Union address, President Obama made it clear he plans to use executive action to bypass Congress on several key issues.

Obama Promises Action, With Or Without Congress
The White House

President Obama made one thing abundantly clear in his State of the Union address: whatever he can do without Congress, he will do without Congress.

"I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans." (Via MSNBC)

"Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do." (Via The White House)

Obama says he wants 2014 to be a "year of action," so apparently he's not relying on help from the lawmakers who made up the least productive Congress in history in 2013. (Via The Washington Post)

Tuesday night, Obama promised executive action to work around the edges on tightening gun control, imposing a higher minimum wage for federal contractors and creating a new government-backed retirement savings plan. (Via The White House / Chuck Kennedy)

Now, the president can only go so far on these issues on his own. For instance, on guns, he won't be banning assault weapons or instituting universal background checks all by his lonesome. Instead, executive action could make it easier for states to submit information about people with mental health issues purchasing guns.

And actually, according to New York Magazine's research, Obama has so far exercised his executive actions less often than any president in the last 100 years.

Though he's caught flack from Republicans like Steve King who take issue with Obama's use of executive discretion.

KING: "This threat, that the president's going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders — we've never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his oath of office." (Via CNN)

Interestingly enough, a poll from The Washington Post and ABC published Monday shows more than half of respondents support a president using executive orders to accomplish goals. And that includes more than one-third of Republicans surveyed.