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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama solicits ideas for ways to sidestep Congress

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Economy,Energy and Environment,Jay Carney,State of the Union

As President Obama prepares for his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, he has solicited members of his Cabinet for ideas of executive actions he could enact without Congressional approval that would further his goal of tackling income inequality.

In the first weeks of January, Obama has repeatedly said he has a “pen and his phone” and will use them to bypass Congressional gridlock and help his agenda.

While White House spokesman Jay Carney said he didn't want to preview the president's speech, he said no one should be surprised that Obama's going to “reemphasize his capacity” as president to both work with Congress and use his executive authority to help create more opportunities for hardworking Americans.

“He's not going to limit himself to [relying on Congress to pass his agenda] or tie his hands behind his back and not use all the powers available to him — the unique powers of the presidency — to move this country forward,” Carney said.

In addition to his Cabinet, Carney said the White House is also reaching out to business, faith and community leaders and “average folks” across the country for ideas on executive actions.

On Tuesday, more than 100 independent experts submitted to the White House some 200 ways Obama can build his environmental legacy through executive action.

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