Politics
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  

Obama to bypass Congress in 2014, rule by agency decree

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

White House officials say President Barack Obama will aggressively use his control of federal agencies to impose his progressive agenda on the economy and society throughout 2014.

He’ll largely ignore GOP legislators, except to push them to accept an amnesty for at least 12 million Democrat-leaning illegal immigrants, according to several White House officials who outlined the strategy to The Washington Post.

“Washington veterans have been brought into the West Wing to emphasize an executive style of governing that aims to sidestep Congress more often,” said the approving Washington Post article.

The new plan “is to bring all of the government alive in a way we have never been very good at,” said another official.

“We’ll be doing that as aggressively as possible… and if we succeed, that is a big presidency,” a senior administration official told the Post.

Obama’s goals are more ambitious than what he had expected to get from the GOP after his 2012 reelection, an official said.

“Even in the best case — if the [GOP’s] fever had broken and the clouds had parted — we still would have only gotten maybe 40 percent of what we wanted,” said the official, who echoed Obama’s frequent description of the GOP’s conservative beliefs as the incoherent ravings of a sick patient.

The new “pen and phone” strategy appears to be a more aggressive version of the post-2010 “We Can’t Wait” strategy, in which Obama had repeatedly promised to implement progressive policies when the GOP-led Congress refused to pass them.

Numerous GOP legislators, including House Speaker John Boehner, have protested Obama’s unilateral actions as lawbreaking and unconstitutional.

“If you look at what this administration has done — from Obamacare to the Environmental Protection Agency to the [immigration enforcement], the rules and regulations and executive orders that he rolls out on the fly — it is quite clear that he ignores what is in the law and he does what he wants to do,” Louisiana Rep. John Fleming told The Daily Caller.

On Friday, Obama’s new homeland security secretary offered a hint of the ambitions behind the “pen and phone” plan, when he told an audience that illegal immigrants have “earned the right to be citizens.”

Amnesty “is a matter of, in my view, homeland security [because it can] encourage people to ‘come out from the shadows,’” said Secretary Jeh Johnson, who has the bureaucratic power to further reduce enforcement of the nation’s largely unenforced immigration laws.

The White House’s plan also calls for Obama to go back on the campaign trail through November, while his deputies use the agencies to regulate the economy and civil society.

Obama will spend his campaign time “urging businesses to hire the long-term unemployed, working with university presidents to promote skills training adapted to the demands of the changing economy, and identifying problems such as violence against women and girls,” according to the Post.

The Post’s report did not include any evidence that Obama will try to negotiate deals with the GOP in Congress to boost the economy.

Obama’s 2014 campaign will accelerate Tuesday, when Obama gives his next State of the Union speech.

“Obama has not stopped warning that the gap between rich and poor in the United States is threatening the nation’s long-term economic prospects, a reminder he will deliver again Tuesday to a prime-time audience,” the Post said.

The GOP’s leadership may be planning to give Obama what he wants on immigration: Top GOP leaders are preparing this week to push GOP legislators to accept  immigration bills that will legalize more than 10 million illegal immigrants.

The bills are opposed by a large bloc of conservative legislators, who say it will boost Latino support for Democrats by allowing Democrats to denounce the GOP’s legalization-but-not-citizenship plan as an un-American “Juan Crow” policy.

Conservatives say a reformed, low-immigration policy will push American companies to compete for American workers, thereby reducing unemployment and pushing up wages.

The GOP would avoid a disastrous split, and get more voters to the November polls, if it postpones debate on immigration, said Fleming.

Constituents “say they would be very upset if this is moved forward… it would create a lot of divisiveness within the conference and would hurt us politically because we’re changing the subject from Obamacare which works for us, to immigration, which doesn’t work for us,” he said.

Also, the GOP can’t negotiate any immigration deal with Obama because he won’t comply with any law, Fleming added. “This administration will not abide by the law, even if we pass good strong legislation… I don’t see how we can accomplish a workable form of immigration while this man is in office,” he added. “This man is 100 percent political… For him, amnesty is a way of establishing a permanent liberal regime in America [by] making it easier for Democrats to win elections.”

The GOP’s amnesty plan is economically similar to the Senate immigration bill, passed in June.

That plan — which would triple legal immigration to 30 million over the next decade — is unpopular, according to recent polls conducted by Quinnipiac University and Rasmussen.

The Senate plan, and two GOP House bills, would also increase the current annual inflow of roughly 650,000 blue-collar and white-collar guest workers.

The labor increase mandated by the Senate plan would reduce average wages, but also boost Wall Street profits, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Obama is expected to spend much time during 2014 portraying the GOP as unfair to wage-earners and as eager to favor Wall Street.

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