Coming on the heels of arguments before the United States Supreme Court over the president’s authority, Obama appears to be doubling down, saying he has no intention of waiting for Congress in order to advance his agenda.
During his first cabinet meeting of the year, President Obama said if Congress refuses to pass his legislation he has no problem bypassing them using executive orders.
“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said during the meeting. ”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.”
The statement comes as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over allegations that the president violated the Constitution when he made appointments during a time when the Senate was not in recess.
The president has been widely criticized for his executive orders which critics have said amounts to a power grab and violates the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
The president has used executive orders frequently to change parts of Obamacare that he did not like, while saying he opposed Congress making the same fixes by passing legislation. The changes the president have made to his signature law have been so extensive that some have noted that the president’s statement that Obamacare is the “law of the land” does not apply because the law the Supreme Court upheld is not the same legislation currently in effect because of all of the president’s changes.
The president said he expects all members of his cabinet to get behind him and support him.
“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.”