News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on Obama's Executive Authority

Washington Week: Focus on Obama's Executive Authorityi
X
February 02, 2014 8:27 PM
A top Republican lawmaker is blasting U.S. President Barack Obama as “lawless” in his use of executive orders to advance policy goals in the absence of congressional action. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, additional clues are emerging as to whether or not 2014 will be a year of action in Washington, as the president urged in last week’s State of the Union address.
Michael Bowman
A top Republican lawmaker is blasting U.S. President Barack Obama as “lawless” in his use of executive orders to advance policy goals in the absence of congressional action.  Additional clues are emerging as to whether or not 2014 will be a year of action in Washington, as the president urged in last week’s State of the Union address.

Since Tuesday’s speech before Congress,  Obama has repeated his determination to fight the income gap between rich and poor Americans and to boost the beleaguered middle class.

“It is time to restore opportunity for all people," the president said.  "The idea that no matter who you are, if you work hard and live up to your responsibilities, you can make it if you try.  Wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will.”

Already, Obama has ordered a hike in the minimum wage for federal contract workers.  His use of executive authority is provoking a strong reaction from Republicans.

“We have an increasingly lawless presidency, where he [Obama] is actually doing the job of Congress, writing new policies and new laws without going through Congress. Presidents do not write laws.  Congress does,” Congressman Paul Ryan said during an appearance on ABC's "This Week" program.

Republicans say, instead of resorting to unilateral action, the president needs to embrace bills already passed in the House of Representatives, like a measure to improve worker training. 

“The SKILLS Act would consolidate the dozens of job training programs on the books and put the focus on programs that work.  Programs that actually lead to jobs," noted Congresswoman Susan Brooks.

But only a small percentage of bills passed by the Republican-led House are approved by the Democratic-led Senate, and vice-versa.  The president has no choice but to act on his own when possible, says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“During the years I have been leader of the Senate, there have been 470 filibusters [blocking maneuvers] by the Republicans," Reid said. "Is it any wonder that the president is going to do some things administratively because of the logjam that we have?”

Even so, there could be some bipartisanship this year.  House Republicans are considering a set of limited proposals to reform America’s immigration system, a central element of President Obama’s agenda since coming to office.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More