WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) — President Barack Obama predicts Congress will be busy this year debating a renewal of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and an immigration overhaul. But he says he wants his Cabinet also to focus on executive actions that don’t require legislation.
“We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we are providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said.
Obama continued: ”And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”
Obama stated he wants to “advance a mission” in an effort to unify all Americans.
“One of the things that I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans,” Obama said. “The belief that everybody’s got to take responsibility, everybody’s got to work hard, but if you do, that you can support a family and meet the kinds of obligations that you have to yourself and your family, but also to your communities and your neighbors.”
He says he is “very pleased” that Congress has agreed on a $1 trillion budget measure and urges lawmakers to pass it promptly.
Obama made his remarks at the top of a meeting with his Cabinet secretaries, two weeks before he delivers an economy-focused State of the Union address. The meeting was part of a week devoted to the economy, including a trip to North Carolina Wednesday to promote a manufacturing innovation hub and a meeting Thursday with college presidents to discuss worker training.