Obama: Executive action not enough

Greg Nash

President Obama lamented the limitations of his executive authority Thursday, saying his administration’s policy goals cannot be achieved without congressional action.

In remarks during a fundraising swing through coastal Southern California, the president cited climate change, women’s reproductive health, infrastructure improvements and scientific research as areas where he needs an assist from the bitterly divided legislative branch.

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“We are not going to be able to make the kind of progress we need, regardless of how hard I push, regardless of how many administrative actions I take. We’re not going to be able to go where we need to go and can go and should go, unless I’ve got a Congress that’s willing to work with me,” Obama said.

The acknowledgment comes in the midst of Obama’s “year of action,” the name he has given his initiative to use the full force of his office in pursuit of his policy agenda.

Last week, the White House touted progress in two-dozen areas, including improving Internet access in schools, the creation of a series of manufacturing hubs and the president’s directive to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for employees of federal contractors.

During Thursday’s event in La Jolla, Calif., in support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama also gave a nod to immigration. The White House has made clear the president’s preference for a legislative overhaul on the issue, but the administration has increasingly looked to executive action in lieu of congressional action.

"Republicans so far, at least, haven’t been willing to step up," Obama said, referring to opposition in the House.

“A majority of American people think we should reform a broken immigration system that can help reduce our deficits, create more growth, create more innovation,” he said, “and even as we are securing our borders and making sure we’re a nation of laws, we’re also reminding ourselves we’re a nation of immigrants.”