Obama treads well-worn presidential path with executive actions

(By Deutsche Welle) US President Barack Obama has come under fire for taking unilateral action to implement aspects of his policy agenda. But experts say that Obama’s use of executive actions is in keeping with other post-WWII presidents.

Struggling to work with a divided and often recalcitrant Congress, President Obama has issued a number of controversial executive actions over the past two years to advance his domestic agenda, stirring the ire of opposition conservative Republicans.

Unable to pass immigration reform, the White House decided in 2012 to stop deporting young undocumented migrants in lieu of failed congressional legislation. The president has also delayed parts of the Affordable Care Act, such as the employer mandate, and has appointed officials while Congress was in recess.

In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Obama announced executive actions that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for future government contractors; create retirement savings plans for workers; and improve fuel efficiency standards on trucks among other proposals.

“I’m eager to work with all of you,” President Obama told lawmakers. “But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Republicans, however, have decried these unilateral actions on the part of the president as executive overreach. Congressman Tom Rice has submitted a resolution to the House of Representatives that seeks to halt some of Obama’s executive actions via court injunction.

“Our president is clearly saying that he is not going to be bound by the constitution,” Rice told Fox News. “One man who can enact and enforce the law – he’s a king not a president.”

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