When President Barack Obama spoke in January at his State of the Union Address, he made it clear that he wouldn’t be waiting on Congress to take action. “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. As the speech progressed he went on with similar rhetoric, from “I will act on my own” to “I’ll use my authority” to “and as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to” and so on. He left none in doubt of his plans to make it an executive year of the pen and phone, bypassing Congress wherever necessary.
It comes as no shock that this has been a source of tension for the Republican party. “Circumventing Congress won’t foster job creation and won’t result in economic growth,” said Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), while Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said “the abuse of power” from Obama’s administration was “only [becoming] more brazen,” according to The Wall Street Journal. It also comes as no surprise that many of the Democratic interests demanded by the Obama administration’s policy initiatives were not taken up by Congress, or were not passable through Congress, split as it is. So let’s take a moment and see how he did with a breakdown of his action on the issues.