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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid