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Obama to use his executive power audaciously this year

19 January 2016 10:24


US President Barack Obama will use his executive power audaciously in his last year in the White House to make sure that the legacy of his administration is not harmed by the Republican-weighted Congress.

According to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, the “audacious” use of the executive power will aim to “make sure the steps we have taken are ones we can lock down and not be subjected to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise,” the Hill reported on Monday.

The administration is, meanwhile, busy putting in place the executive orders already announced as Obama has less than 12 months before the end of his term.

“The president has laid out a number of issues he wants to work with Congress on, including approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership, reforming our criminal justice system, authorizing the use of military force against ISIL, tackling heroin abuse, addressing poverty, and supporting a moonshot to cure cancer,” McDonough said, stressing that he was non-committal in regard to the specifics of the plans.

The administration official also warned that Obama is going to use his power if the US Congress “fails” in tackling the issues.

“The president has also been clear that he’s not going to hesitate to act when Congress fails to do so.”

Apart from gun control, campaign financing reform, and equal pay, Obama is under pressure to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison as he had promised.

According to Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist, the president will finally “do something” about it.

“It really bothers the president that he hasn’t been able to shut down Guantanamo,” Bannon said. “That’s why — since Congress obviously won’t move on it — I think Obama will try to do something to close it down on his own.”

Last November, the Congress barred Obama from transferring Gitmo prisoners to the US but the president said at the time that he might ignore it.

“The executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to the detainees who remain at Guantanamo, to determine when and where to prosecute them,” he said in a statement in response to the congressional restrictions.

Bannon also believes that the odds are in Obama’s favor as Gitmo closure is an issue of national security, significant enough to the country’s courts, where an executive order will probably end up.

“When it comes to national security issues, federal courts give the president a lot of leeway,” he said, arguing that, according to Article II, the president has the power not to just decide where to deploy forces but also where to hold prisoners.

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