Obama has made no secret of the fact that the economy is going to be a big item on his 2014 agenda. With Gallup’s Jan 16th poll showing 89% of respondents voting that it is extremely/very important to them that the President and Congress deal the issue of the state of the economy, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue must be prepared to negotiate and compromise for the greater good or come the November midterms, both parties may struggle to convince voters of their worth.
While what is being suggested isn’t new by any standards, the President has already used his first two weekly addresses of 2014 to illustrate to Congress and the American people that he wants to take action, such as bringing back unemployment insurance which was cut as Congress recessed for the holidays, increasing the minimum wage and creating more jobs.
Obama’s comments on the matter have focused on energizing the country. He wants to bring back jobs lost to the recession and overseas competition, while also stating that he’s keen to work with Congress on proven ways to create jobs but is not afraid to move on his own if Congress doesn’t act.
Immigration reform has been held up in the house for months now, but based some of his remarks and lots of reports; it seems Obama plans to keep immigration on his agenda for 2014. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA.), who attended a meeting between the President and Democratic senators last week, told reporters “he predicted that the House would pass something this year.” Further comments from Sen. Kaine and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY.) indicated that Obama recognized that immigration reform would be a battle but was “cautiously optimistic.”
Along with being on the President’s agenda, reports suggest immigration will also be addressed at the annual House Republican retreat, where a session will be dedicated to open discussion on immigration reform. While most agree any movement would occur incrementally, should the President be successful in this area it would highly likely also assist him with his economic agenda.
Other Items on the Table
Though the economy and immigration will be two hot topics on the President’s agenda for most of 2014, he will also have some shorter term agenda items. He’s already announced his plans for NSA reforms; wants to work with colleges to improve opportunities for low income students to earn degrees and, like most second term presidents, Obama will likely spend time developing his international policy legacy.