Obama: ‘I’ve got a pen’ for more executive action

President Obama vowed Tuesday to use the power of his office where necessary to advance an aggressive 2014 policy agenda.


Heading into a Cabinet meeting, Obama expressed optimism that Congress would take action on numerous major pieces of legislation, including a trillion-dollar 2014 spending bill unveiled late Monday, immigration reform and a measure to extend unemployment benefits.

The president, however, also pledged that, “we are not just going to be waiting for a legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.”

“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward,” he said.

Obama broadly listed education, support for businesses, and job training as areas in which executive action might be needed, though he did not elaborate on the specifics of any proposals.

Late last year, Obama said he expected this to be a breakthrough year, following what many view as a dismal 2013 for the second-term president. On Tuesday, he repeated the prediction that 2014 would be “a year of action.”

“So one of the things that I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans,” he said.