(WASHINGTON) — President Obama vowed once again to “try to make progress” on issues like immigration reform, reducing student debt and ensuring equal pay for women by using his executive authority as long as Congress remains gridlocked, he said at a press conference Wednesday.
“The American people don’t want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs, just waiting for Congress to get something done,” the president said.
“I’m bound by the Constitution,” Obama acknowledged. “I’m bound by separation of powers. There are some things we can’t do.”
But the president said his preference was “to work with Congress, because not only can Congress do more but it’s going to be longer lasting.”
For example, Obama said he would “love to fund” large infrastructure projects that would put Americans to work “but without the cooperation of Congress,” there are other options at his disposal.
“What I am consistently going to do is wherever I have the legal authorities to make progress,” he said, “I’m going to seize those opportunities.”
When it comes to immigration reform, Obama dismissed Republican claims of executive overreach, noting that he never has a “green light” to act unilaterally.
“We have a broken system, it’s under-resourced, and we’ve got to make choices in terms of how we allocate personnel,” he said at the close of a three-day summit on U.S.-Africa relations, “and that’s well within our authorities.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Dan Merica and Sophie Tatum, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Eric Bradner, CNN