President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants, according to people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues…

The administration declined to provide details on timing of the possible actions; one White House official said the moves to boost housing, retrofit buildings, offer same-sex protections or issue new environmental rules were not imminent. Obama may touch on some of the actions in broad terms during his State of the Union address Tuesday, but he is unlikely to lay them out in detail.

One of the more significant moves under consideration is in housing. Obama is weighing whether to use his executive authority to give more of the country’s nearly 11 million struggling homeowners a chance to refinance at today’s ultra-low interest rates, according to the Treasury Department and others in talks with the administration on the issue.