Obama: No apologies for 'very disciplined and sparing' use of executive action

Obama said he was “not particularly worried” about attempts by House Republicans to limit his use of his presidential authorities.

 

President Obama said he would not apologize for his “very disciplined and sparing” use of executive action, and said he was “not particularly worried” about attempts by House Republicans to limit his use of presidential authorities during an interview airing Friday.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama vowed to use executive actions to push forward his economic agenda where Congress was unwilling to act. 

“America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.

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Republican lawmakers have charged that the emphasis on executive action — coupled with the administration’s selective enforcement of certain immigration and health care laws — has seen Obama circumvent the Constitution.

“Even if you happen to agree with him on policy matters, the precedent of the president picking and choosing what laws to follow is a dangerous precedent," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN. "There's going to come another president, a Republican president, and if you have this power for the president to say, 'I don't agree with this tax law, this environmental law, this labor law, so I'm just going to change it' — that threatens the liberty of every American.”

But in an interview with the same network on Friday, Obama said he did not think that characterization was “very serious.”

“I mean, the truth of the matter is, is that every president engages in executive actions,” Obama said. “In fact, we've been very disciplined and sparing in terms of the executive actions that we have taken. We make sure that we're doing it within the authority that we have under statute. But I am not going to make an apology for saying that if I can help middle-class families and folks who are working hard to try to get in the middle class do a little bit better, then I'm going to do it.”

Obama said he believed the American people supported his use of executive authorities.

“It's a tough argument for the other side to make that not only are they willing to do not do anything, but they also want me not to do anything, in which case, I think the American people, whose, right now, estimation of Congress is already pretty low, might have an even lower opinion,” Obama said.

He added that he was “not particularly worried” by a no binding resolution in the House directing the chamber to take civil action against the president for his use of executive authority.