The Washington Post

White House: Move to act without Congress is ‘not confrontational’

Top White House aide Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday that President Obama isn't threatening Congress by promising to take more actions on his own in 2014.

Obama's use of "a pen and a phone" -- the pen being the use of so-called "executive actions," a.k.a. generally limited policy declarations that a president takes unilaterally -- is expected to be a major theme of his State of the Union address Tuesday. The White House has been telegraphing this strategy for weeks now, which some see as threatening Congress that, if it doesn't act, Obama will.

"I don't think it's confrontational," Pfeiffer said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Let's find some areas we can work together."

Pfeiffer said Obama "is not going to tell the American people that he's going to wait for Congress."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), appearing on the same program, said the White House's comments do indeed sound like a threat.

"It sounds vaguely like a threat, and I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance in the sense that one of the fundamental principles of our country were the checks and balances -- that it wasn't supposed to be easy to pass legislation, that you have to convince people," Paul said.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
In defense of dads
Play Videos
How to make head cheese
Perks of private flying
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
New hurdles for a Maryland tradition
How to survive a shark attack
Play Videos
Portland's most important meal of the day
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to save and spend money at college
Next Story
Theresa Poulson · January 26, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.