President Obama vowed Friday to do everything in his power to help the middle class – with or without Congress.

Speaking to House Democrats attending their annual issues conference on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the president doubled down on his State of the Union promise to use his executive authority at every turn to advance policies benefiting working people.

“The single most important thing we have to do, not just as a party, but as a country, is make sure that there is opportunity for every single person, that we are focused every single day … making sure that if you are willing to work hard and take responsibility that you can get ahead,” Obama told his fellow Democrats.

“I want to work with Congress to make that happen. But, I’m not going to wait, because there’s too much to do. And America does not believe in standing still,” the president said.

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2. Giving Congress and their staffs special taxpayer-funded subsidies for Obamacare

It was uncomfortable for Members of Congress when they realized that, through Obamacare, they had kicked themselves and their staffs out of the taxpayer-funded subsidies they were enjoying for health coverage. But the Administration said no problem and gave them new subsidies. In this case, “the Administration opted to stretch the law to save Obamacare—at the taxpayers’ expense.”…

4. Preventing layoff notices from going out just days before the 2012 election

There’s a law that says large employers have to give employees 60 days’ notice before mass layoffs. And layoffs were looming due to federal budget cuts in 2012. But the Obama Administration told employers to go against the law and not issue those notices—which would have hit mailboxes just days before the presidential election. The Administration “also offered to reimburse those employers at the taxpayers’ expense if challenged for failure to give that notice.”

5. Gutting the work requirement from welfare reform

The welfare reform that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996 required that welfare recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program work or prepare for work to receive the aid. The Obama Administration essentially took out that requirement by offering waivers to states, even though the law expressly states that waivers of the work requirement are not allowed. “Despite [the law’s] unambiguous language, the Obama Administration continues to flout the law with its ‘revisionist’ interpretation,” write Slattery and Kloster.

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The president at times insists he does not have the executive authority to stop deportations. That is incorrect. In fact, when it comes to immigration, presidential action taken immediately is exactly what’s needed to propel and transform the legislative debate

Other presidents, from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to President George H.W. Bush, have used executive action to defer deportations. In fact, so has President Obama. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program gave temporary immigration relief to young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.” Through a June 2012 memorandum, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano directed immigration officials to exercise prosecutorial discretion for those who came to the United States when they were very young and who fit specific outlined DACA criteria. The measure did not confer permanent status, but it was designed to offer temporary relief until the enactment of immigration reform—precisely the sort of relief the president could extend to nearly all undocumented immigrants.

Some will raise questions about the political implications if the president were to act and whether he should—but there is no longer any question whether he can. The Supreme Court has repeatedly confirmed the president’s authority to decline to bring enforcement actions. In Heckler v. Chaney, the Court noted that it has historically “recognized on several occasions over many years that an agency’s decision not to prosecute or enforce, whether through civil or criminal process, is a decision generally committed to an agency’s absolute discretion.”…

Certain Republicans may say that expanding relief through direct Presidential action would threaten the debate about comprehensive immigration reform. The White House has promised a year of action and shouldn’t capitulate to any threats.

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Given this historically unique situation with broad far-reaching implications, it falls on the Fourth Estate to educate the public about the illegality in their midst. The voting booth is the last venue available to enforce accountability on the executive. The press is also abdicating their responsibilities in that regard

The whole of the national political media establishment should be incensed by this administration’s effrontery. Instead, they are complacent. Their collective non-reaction has the cumulative effect of acclimating the nation to the rule of man over the rule of law. It is a condition that should move the honest to weep as the precepts of this, the most successful constitutional republic in human history, are perverted to further the political goals of one man in one fleeting moment. The acceptance of this manner of casual subversion is how republics die.

The press has a job to do and it is failing in its charge. That the majority of respected media outlets cannot even move themselves to justified criticism of this and other illegal maneuvers will be judged harshly by posterity.

A few might awaken to the dangerous precedent they have enabled when Obama is out of office and a new president subverts law in order to expediently pursue a goal deemed sufficiently critical. But the most searing indictments of the next president will be dismissed. The moral gravity of future admonitions will have been greatly diminished by their inaction today.

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