Obama tells Cabinet to find areas open to executive action

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 1, 2014 12:42pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with members of his cabinet at the White House in Washington July 1, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with members of his cabinet at the White House in Washington July 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told his Cabinet on Tuesday to look for areas where he might be able to govern by executive action given gridlock in Congress that is hampering his agenda.

In a White House meeting, Obama brought together the top officials in his government a day after conceding that a deadlocked Congress will prompt him to act on his own authority where he can on an immigration overhaul.

Obama said he wants to work with Congress where possible, "but if Congress is unable to do it," then he said his Cabinet officials and agency heads should look for areas where executive actions can "show some real progress."

"The people who sent us here, they just don’t feel as if anybody is fighting for them or working them. We’re not always going to be able to get things through Congress ... but we sure as heck can make sure that the folks back home know that we are pushing their agenda and that we’re working hard on their behalf," Obama said.

Obama's comments amounted to a recognition he is unlikely to get substantial legislation through Congress this year ahead of congressional elections in November elections.

Republicans are in no mood to compromise ahead of elections in which they could take control of the Senate from the Democrats and build on their majority in the House of Representatives.

Obama on Monday said House Speaker John Boehner had told him last week the House would not vote on immigration legislation this year.

Obama, who has pushed for the immigration overhaul, said his advisers would give recommendations to him by the end of the summer on what he can do administratively on the issue. The president this year has raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers and taken other steps through executive order, but he is limited on how far he can go without actual legislation.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Simao)

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Comments (32)
lag46 wrote:
The prime area open to executive action is enforcement.

Jul 01, 2014 1:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Abenaki wrote:
The dead beats in Congress need to do some work. Ya, Iag46 that is where Obama goes wrong “enforcement”, that is what he forgets to start before doing anything. Be careful Congress I am not Democrat or Republican this could sway my vote. I see Congress doing nothing and most people are getting ready for a change because of this…

Jul 01, 2014 1:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
How can a cabinet not challenge him on the constitutionality of what he’s proposing? Of course, Chuck Hagel is looking for the Krispy Kremes.

Jul 01, 2014 1:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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