Obama Team Prepares Post-Election Agenda

Obama Team Prepares Post-Election Agenda
Barack Obama

AFRICANGLOBE -Regardless of the results of Tuesday’s elections, President Obama and his aides are preparing to turn the page.

The White House plans to launch a post-election agenda in the next few days that includes a new attorney general nominee and a high-profile trip to Asia and Australia for global economic meetings, administration officials said.

Over the next few weeks, the president and aides will continue to press the lame-duck Congress on an economic agenda that includes a minimum wage hike and infrastructure spending.

And in the next month or so, Obama is expected to unveil new executive orders on immigration that could basically suspend deportations for thousands of people now in the country illegally. The long-awaited immigration executive orders — and their still-unclear impact — are expected in late November or early December, said three officials speaking on condition of anonymity because plans aren’t final.

These and other issues -— including a series of ongoing foreign policy challenges — will set the tone for Obama’s final two years and two months in office. “We’ve got so much more work to do,” Obama told supporters Sunday in Philadelphia, echoing a comment he made elsewhere on the campaign trail. “Not everybody has felt growth in the economy.”

Obama’s agenda won’t be easy to obtain.

Tuesday’s elections could produce a Republican-run U.S. Senate, with members who made opposition to Obama’s policies the centerpieces of their campaigns.

The Republicans are also heavily favored to expand their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Whatever the congressional numbers, White House officials said they will continue pushing what Earnest described as “policies that benefit middle-class families” across the nation.

“The administration is going to retain a willingness to work with anybody in either party who shares that commitment, even if it is on one specific issue,” Earnest said.

Obama himself is likely to discuss his agenda at a post-election news conference, perhaps as early as Wednesday, the administration officials said.

As he seeks to move past the elections, Obama will also be under pressure to make major staff changes, including from Democrats who believe the president’s low approval ratings hurt their candidates. Some senior aides, especially those who have been with Obama since his first presidential campaign in 2008, have indicated they may leave of their own volition.

The first post-election clash with Republicans could come later this week, if Obama nominates a replacement for retiring Attorney General Eric Holder.

Obama and other White House officials have made clear they want the current (Democratic-run) Senate to confirm a new attorney general before it adjourns at the end of the year.

The Republicans, confident they will win control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, may seek to delay confirmation proceedings until next year. GOP lawmakers have criticized Holder’s performance, and pledged to give extra scrutiny to Obama’s choice for a successor.

Republicans are also ready to pounce on Obama’s planned executive orders that, they say, might lead to “amnesty” for migrants currently in the country illegally. Obama has said he plans to act because House Republicans have refused to pass a comprehensive immigration bill.

If Republicans take the Senate, Obama will likely continue to rely on executive orders for many issues, Potential subjects include climate change and implementation of the new health care law.

The current Congress has scheduled a lame-duck session for mid-November. As lawmakers prepare for a new Congress, Obama is expected to continue pushing his economic agenda that includes a minimum wage hike, student loan assistance and infrastructure projects.

Whatever party controls the Senate, presidents generally have more latitude over foreign policy, and stress foreign issues as their terms come to an end. Obama is not likely to be an exception.

Early Sunday, he begins a week-long trip to Asia that includes economic conferences in China, Burma and Australia. Obama also has a state visit with President Xi Jinping ofChina. Throughout the trip, Earnest said, Obama will “have the opportunity to talk about the importance and the benefits of opening up markets overseas to American products.”

There is no shortage of foreign policy challenges for Obama in the final months, weeks and days of his administration: the rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, U.S. relations with Israel, negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and any number of unanticipated events.

Whatever the results Tuesday, Earnest said one impact is already clear: Voters will want to see lawmakers “putting aside their partisan labels and focusing on what those elected representatives can do for middle-class families back home.”

 

By: David Jackson