“I think what we saw last year in 2013 was a Washington that did not deliver for the American people,” Carney said. “The president sees this as the year of action, to work with Congress where he can, and to bypass Congress where necessary.”
Bypassing Congress will likely mean taking executive action in certain areas. In the past, Obama has halted the deportations of certain young, undocumented immigrants and ordered modest changes to the federal background check system for gun purchases, among other actions. Progressives are currently pushing the president to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors.
“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said at a Jan. 14 cabinet meeting.
Carney did not go into specifics on what the president might do. But he expressed hope that further executive action will not be necessary on one key part of the president’s second-term agenda.
“We’re actually optimistic that 2014 will be the year Congress delivers to the president’s desk a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.
Separately, Carney was asked whether passing Obamacare would have been worth it if the Democrats lose control of the Senate in the 2014 elections. “It is absolutely worth it, no matter what happens politically,” Carney said.
Watch full clip below.