Obama Administration’s 2014 Agenda

This is one of a series of posts from the Congressional Update

We’re one year into President Obama’s second term and, as we saw this week, many Americans and those in the media are starting to look towards 2016. So how does a president (with an approval ratings of 42%) set an agenda while he’s facing a growing set of challenges?

The president is thinking about the midterm elections and the future of his party; he’s thinking about his legacy, and he’s thinking about how to work with the Senate for help getting things done.

The White House’s potential agenda issues for 2014 include:

– The Affordable Care Act: the White House wants to put website issues behind them and focus on getting more people enrolled.

– Immigration Reform: an issue that has stalled in Congress. Democrats think that this issue can help them in the midterm elections. It’s something that president has repeatedly advocated for.

– Iran Sanctions: the president is urging Congress not to call for new sanctions that could damage his negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

– Afghanistan: the US is supposed to exit the country in 2014. The president would like to leave an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 troops to offer protection. The future of our presence in Afghanistan will be part of the 2014 discussion.

– Energy and Carbon: industry is saying that the president is starting a war on coal. Beginning in June, EPA has been instructed to implement rules regulating existing power plants.

– Keystone XL: the administration is studying the issue (and may continue to study it as long as they can). Part of this conversation is the role of John Podesta at the White House. (see article on this topic by Alexis Simendinger)

– Budget Issues: the president is planning to confront income inequality, minimum wage, and middle class issues in his budget proposal. He is coming back to these issues in 2014 because it will increase voter turnout among the Democratic base.

– NSA: this in an issue about the level of trust people have in their government. The administration will continue to portray their ability to competently govern at every opportunity.

A version of this talk is also given in the Congressional Operations Seminar.
Next up at the Congressional Update: David Wasserman, “The 2014 Elections: An Early Forecast

Sam Lovett is Communications Manager at the Government Affairs Institute