Obama to Get More Aggressive With Congress
President Barack Obama is reportedly prepared to push his own political agenda in 2012 after a year of bitter legislative battles with Congress. The decision comes as he enters his fourth year in office and may help his re-election campaign if congressional leaders continue to drag their feet on important legislative measures, especially those that pertain to helping middle-class families.
From News One:
... Devoid of any major policy pushes, much of the year will instead focus on the biggest goal of all: winning a second term. The president will keep up a robust domestic travel schedule and aggressive campaign fundraising and use executive action to try to boost the economy.
Unlike the partisan, down-to-the-wire fights over allowing the nation to take on more debt and sharply reducing government spending that defined 2011, there are almost no must-do pieces of legislation facing the president and Congress in the new year.
The one exception: negotiations in early 2012 on a full-year extension of a cut in the Social Security payroll tax rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. Democrats and Republicans are still divided over how to implement the extension. But the White House believes GOP lawmakers boxed themselves in during the pre-Christmas debate on the tax break and will be hard-pressed to back off their own assertions that it should continue through the end of 2012.
Once that debate is over, the White House says, Obama’s political fate will no longer be tied to Washington.
“Now that he’s sort of free from having to put out these fires, the president will have a larger playing field. If that includes Congress, all the better,” said Josh Earnest, White House deputy press secretary. But, he added, “that’s no longer a requirement.” ...
Still, Obama and his advisers are beginning 2012 with a renewed sense of confidence, buoyed by a series of polls that show the president’s approval rating climbing as Congress becomes increasingly unpopular. And they believe his victory over Republicans in the payroll tax debate has boosted his credentials as a fighter for the middle class, a mantle Obama will look to seize on in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address ...
If the polls are right, the electorate will approve of President Obama's offensive moves against the increasingly unpopular Congress. Congressional leaders have stymied democratic progress for long enough. The president is not tethered to their obstructionist agendas.