March 20, 2013
President Barack Obama came into office four years ago skeptical of
pushing the power of the White House to the limit, especially if it
appeared to be circumventing Congress.
Now, as he launches his second term, Obama has grown more comfortable
wielding power to try to move his own agenda forward, particularly when
a deeply fractured, often-hostile Congress gets in his way.
While his decision to send drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of
terrorism has garnered a torrent of criticism, his use of executive
orders and other powers at home is deeper and wider.
He delayed the deportation of young illegal immigrants when Congress
wouldn’t agree. He ordered the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to research gun violence, which Congress halted nearly 15
years ago. He told the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense
of Marriage Act, deciding that the 1996 law defining marriage as between
a man and a woman was unconstitutional. He’s vowed to act on his own if
Congress didn’t pass policies to prepare for climate change.