Obama Weighs New Set of Executive Actions

Monday, 11 Feb 2013 09:54 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama is considering a new set of wide-ranging executive actions, including one this week to create new standards on what private-sector companies should do to protect computer systems from hackers, an approach sure to anger Republican lawmakers.

Other executive actions also under consideration include policies to help homeowners refinance mortgages, new protections for homosexuals who work for government contractors, requirements for making buildings more energy-efficient and tougher regulations for coal-fired power plants, reports The Washington Post.

Last month, Obama issued 23 administrative actions on gun violence, and in the past has issued orders that delayed the deportations of young illegal immigrants and lowered student loan payments.

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One White House official said Obama isn't using his executive powers to bypass Congress but to simply move forward on advancing some of his top priorities. Republicans, however, see it as a power grab and a violation of the Constitution.

A federal appeals court just last month ruled that the president exceeded his constitutional powers by appointing new members to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was on break.

“It is a very dangerous road he’s going down, contrary to the spirit of the Constitution,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley in a recent interview. “Just because Congress doesn’t act doesn’t mean the president has a right to act.”

One of the more major executive actions being considered by the president, according to the Post, would give homeowners a better chance to refinance at today's low interest rates. He's already used his powers to make refinancing easier for people with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but his new plan could extend opportunities to people running behind on the payments of their privately backed mortgages.

According to the Post, Obama's decision to move on new executive actions is because he has concluded that Republicans aren't likely to pass many of his major agenda items.

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