Obama’s team would love to keep the momentum going from his two boldest post-election moves: immigration and his decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba. Just this week, Obama announced proposals to encourage paid leave for working families, strengthen cybersecurity, expand broadband access in rural areas and cut methane gas emissions. He also has a new housing initiative to cut some mortgage insurance costs.
It’s all intended to show that, whether the Republican Congress likes him or not, Obama is still in the game for two more years. “I think there is still real opportunity to be creative and look for additional places where we can act,” said one senior White House official.
But even Democratic policy experts aren’t convinced there are a lot of “big bang” ideas left that aren’t already in the pipeline or crossed off the president’s checklist, especially on his top priority for the year: helping middle-class Americans share the gains of the economic recovery.
“I think it’s great that the president is looking to use all the tools in his toolkit,” said Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress. But particularly on economic issues, she said, “he does need help from Congress to really address people’s needs.”