In an effort to close the gap between rich and poor Americans, President Barack Obama is poised to take unilateral action, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
The president will face a fractious Congress when he delivers Tuesday’s State of the Union address, but he will seize the moment to demand expanded economic opportunity and seek compromise on some issues, the report says.
“The president sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said, according to the AP.
Republicans scoffed at the notion of the president working around Congress.
“The president has sort of hung out on the left and tried to get what he wants through the bureaucracy as opposed to moving to the political center,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Senate leader, according to the AP.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) added: “It sounds vaguely like a threat, and I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance.”
With midyear elections coming up, the president has little reason to be optimistic about garnering Republican support for measures to renew a bipartisan immigration bill that has passed the Senate, an increased minimum wage or expanded prekindergarten programs.
For their part, Republicans are looking to gain control of the Democratic Senate and maintain their majority leadership in the House of Representatives. Further, they want to keep the focus on the nation’s floundering economy and the president’s leadership over it.
“His economic policies are not working,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told the AP.