With intransigent Republicans frustrating his efforts to bring at least some relief to Americans hurt by the economic slump, President Barack Obama has correctly decided to use his executive authority to make things happen.
Taking yet another jab at what he calls the “dysfunction Congress,” the president announced on Monday in Las Vegas that he was issuing an executive order that amends the two-year-old Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The move makes it easier for some homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth and are current on their payments.
Then, on Tuesday, president took another executive action that will ensure 8,000 veterans are hired by community health centers.
And the White House announced a new “Pay As You Earn” plan that will make it easier for some 1.6 million people who owe student loans. Starting next year, they will be able to cap their loan payments at 10 percent and their debt will be forgiven after 20 years of payments. More changes will take place in 2014.
Still more Obama initiatives can be expected as the president begins to flex his leadership muscles to put into place plans and programs that are being blocked by the GOP.
The Republicans have frustrated his efforts to pass his $447 billion jobs bill and, failing that, enactment of parts of the measure. GOP senators refused to allow the bill to come up for debate and also blocked a subsequent effort to pass a smaller bill that would enable local governments to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of police officers, firefighters and teachers.
The business of the nation cannot wait until there is a resolution of the Republicans’ campaign to make Mr. Obama a one-term president; that is, until after the elections in November 2012.
Mr. Obama was elected to lead the country and while our system of democracy does not give the president absolute power to govern – and never should – he has a fundamental obligation to act where it is possible to get the nation’s business done and provide the leadership that he was elected to provide.
“Yes, we can” and “No, we can’t wait” define a reinvigorated presidency. And it’s about time.