Obama executive omissions leave some allies angry

Advocates for gay rights, immigration reform want president to go around Congress on their issues the way he has with others
Associated Press
Jan 30, 2014

For some White House allies, the long list of executive actions President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address was marred by a few glaring omissions.

Gay rights advocates are seething over Obama's refusal to grant employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians working for federal contractors, safeguards they have been seeking for years. And some immigration overhaul supporters were disappointed that he did not act on his own to halt deportations, which have soared during his presidency and angered many Hispanics.

On both issues, White House officials say the place for action is in Congress, where successful legislation would be far more sweeping than the steps the president could take by himself. But work on an employment non-discrimination bill and an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws is stalled on Capitol Hill, leaving advocates perplexed as to why their calls for executive action did not fit into Obama's vow to act "whenever and wherever" Congress will not.

"In the absence of congressional action, an executive order that prohibits discrimination by contractors is a tailor-made solution to the president's expressed aims," said Fred Sainz, vice president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay advocacy organization. Sainz said his frustration with the White House's inaction on the issue was "growing by the day."

Ben Monterroso, executive director of the immigration organization Mi Familia Vota, said: "The president said he is going to use executive orders to act where Congress fails, and we expect him to do the same with immigration reform."

The criticism is particularly striking given that it is coming from two constituencies that have reliably supported the president. More than 70 percent of Hispanic voters backed Obama in the 2012 presidential election, and the gay community has consistently praised him for his unprecedented support.

For gay advocates, the frustration that followed the State of the Union was compounded by the fact that the president announced a minimum-wage executive order that in many ways mirrored the action they are seeking. The order raises the minimum hourly pay for new federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10. Obama cast the move as an opportunity to make at least some progress on the issue while he pushes Congress to pass legislation extending the minimum to all workers.

Gay rights proponents have asked Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. At the same time, they want Congress to pass the broader Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has the backing of the White House. That measure passed the Senate last year but is stalled in the Republican-led House.

Heather Cronk, co-director of the organizations GetEqual, said Obama's declining to sign the executive order means he is "actively choosing to permit discrimination against LGBT workers."

Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the executive actions the president outlined in Tuesday night's address were not an exhaustive list of his plans for this year. But Carney also cautioned that he was not implying there would be any future action on the LGBT order.

While leading gay rights supporters were largely united in their reactions following the State of the Union, the view among immigration advocates was more fractured.

Some of those seeking an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws fear that unilateral action by the president would upend the fragile legislative maneuvering on Capitol Hill. A Senate-approved bill is languishing in the House, but GOP leaders are currently working on another set of immigration principles to secure the national border and extend legal status to many of the estimated 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally.

But other immigration backers say there is more that Obama can — and should — do immediately, regardless of what's happening on Capitol Hill. Their demands center in particular on deportations, which has hit about 400,000 annually during Obama's presidency, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In 2012, Obama suspended deportations of some of the "Dreamers" — immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Advocates, as well as some Democratic lawmakers, want the president to expand that order to cover those children's parents and other immigrant groups.

Lorella Praeli, advocacy and policy director for the group United We Dream, welcomed Obama's renewed call in the State of the Union for passing comprehensive legislation, but she still singled out the president's resistance to take executive action to end more deportations.

"While he's willing to take action singlehandedly on other political issues, he so far refuses to stop deporting people who would be granted legal status and a chance for citizenship under legislation he champions," Praeli said in a statement.

The White House argues that not only would such unilateral action destabilize the debate on Capitol Hill but it also could be difficult to legally defend.

Comments

The Big Dog's back

That's the problem sappy. You and your fellow right wingers look at your leaders as kings. You wait to see what they're going to p%$$ on you. Dems on the other hand hold our elected officials accountable. We argue and disagree and hammer things out. You and your minions fall in line. He's doing what the majority of the people who elected him want. Not once, never in the 8 years bush was President did any faction of Repubs come out against anything he did. Dems do question things.

Steve P

What has the dems questioned or refused to pass for your messiah, the dems walk in goosestep while the republicans do have a factional party from the tea party to the moderate center. Name a moderate dem that remains in Washington? The current dems are left of Stalin.

The Big Dog's back

Did you read the article steve?

Steve P

Sure did, his radical left wing supporters want more on two issues, which he will attempt to give them eventually, his dem buddies in congress has followed him in goosestep. You still can't come up with a remaining moderate dem, can you piddle.

The Big Dog's back

A moderate dem. You mean a right wing dem? C'mon pooh, I mean steve, clue me in.

The Big Dog's back

pooh, the tea party wasn't formed until just before the election of 2008 when Obama was leading in all polls.

deertracker

The black guy!

Darwin's choice

Halfrican.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Funny, when in history has a government not become a bladder over the heads of its citizens? You want to talk history, let's bring this up. As far as Democrat discourse? Where is this great Parthenon that these meetings occur so that I may attend?

As for me and my "minions" falling in line? You realize that the Tea Party movement came about because of the last president? Here let's do a minion roll call!

Contango, grumpy, SamAdams, and the many others here I ask you: was President Bush the best, last hope for humanity with flawless economic sense and who would inspire you to undermine your ideals to show cursory solidarity?

I don't care that Democrats question "things". I care they don't question their leadership. I care they don't care about those who don't fit their world view. I care they use garbage words, terms, and pluralities to undermine the beauty and liberty of the individual. I care that they tell people the only way to advance in life is via their programs, "ladders", and that you as a citizen are insignificant and owes their existence to them/government.

Where Republicans do that too, so too do I abhor that behavior. Winning elections is not willy-nilly carte blanc for doing whatever you want to whomever you want.

So with that, where do I meet the Democrat think tank that does what you suggest?

The Big Dog's back

"You realize that the Tea Party movement came about because of the last president?"
Really? Actually, I'm getting tired of educating you because it goes in one ear and out the other. The tea party was formed by a guy named dick armey. Freedomworks. Look it up. Do you remember all the racist signs held by card carrying tea party members? You really are naive.

grumpy

I will let the wiki tell when it started and who started it. Read the footnotes and links to find the original sources. You will se that once again when piddle puppy makes a statement that can be researched it never seems to turn out to be true.

Now if he would tell us where he got his misinformation we could blame that, but since he never does that, we must disbelieve the one who makes the false statement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea...

The Big Dog's back

pooh, wiki said the same thing.

grumpy

Re: "The tea party was formed by a guy named dick armey. Freedomworks. Look it up."

Here is the only mention of Armey,besides being identified as a member, in the wiki I linked to.

One attempt at forming a list of what Tea Partiers wanted Congress to do resulted in the Contract from America. It was a legislative agenda created by conservative activist Ryan Hecker with the assistance of Dick Armey of FreedomWorks. Armey had co-written the previous Contract with America released by the Republican Party during the 1994 midterm elections. One thousand agenda ideas that had been submitted were narrowed down to twenty-one non-social issues. Participants then voted in an online campaign in which they were asked to select their favorite policy planks. The results were released as a ten-point Tea Party platform.[43][44] The Contract from America was met with some support within the Republican Party, but it was not broadly embraced by GOP leadership, which released its own 'Pledge to America'.[44]

Armey assisted in writing part of the agenda. I am still looking for where Armey formed the tea party, care to point it out? Assisted in writing part of the agenda and being a member of the tea party is hardly the same thing as forming the Tea Party. If this is the quality of your research, or the quality of your thinking, I now understand how you can spout the erroneous crap you do.

Just as an assist, here is the wiki on Armey, you can point out to all of us where he "formed the tea party". Forming the Tea Party would be something that would show up on Armey's wiki. I will be waiting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dic...

grumpy

Your "proof" is an opinion piece that says that Armey is "unofficial leader of the anti-Washington "tea party" movement"? This is ,again, the quality of your research? It didn't even say that he "formed the Tea Party" as you claimed. I am sad to see you get your so called "facts" from a left wingnut mouthpiece. It says volumes about you and what you consider to be facts. How about showing us a link that says what you said, that armey formed the tea party, then you would actually have something that backed your unfounded claim. Even if it was from a left wingnut blog or opinion piece. Can't you find SOMETHING from the left wingnut blogs that back your claims?

Just a suggestion, but when you are at the bottom of a deep hole... quit digging.

Contango

Re: "The tea party was formed by a guy named dick armey."

Read your own article derpy:

"the unofficial leader of the anti-Washington "tea party" movement."

"Leader" NOT "formed."

The term tea party began with Rick Santelli. I saw it live and remember it.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Grumpy beat me to it above with the wiki link. But even disregarding that I am not a member of Freedomworks. I have never sent them money nor do I subscribe to their newsletters. I have never shaken hands with Dick Armey nor do I comment on their forums. Is it so hard for you to imagine that someone can come to a decision on their own by resources they have garnered themselves that isn't told what to think by a group entity?

How can an individual have opinions, successes, flaws, and a functional life outside of a mastermind's plan? Heck, even as a movement the Tea Party isn't consistent. That is the beauty of it! Mien Gott in himmel...

As for the racist signs? Maybe some individual members are! Or, maybe trolls (paid or otherwise) show up to perfectly legitimate functions with offensive signs in order to try and distract from the message at hand which has nothing to do with race? Maybe, because the Tea Party is "open source", some people decide to wear that moniker to somehow advance their backwards way of thinking like a burglar wears a mask or Congressman wears a suit?

I really wish there was a way I could get you to see individual people for who and what they are themselves instead of automatically grouping them into some stereotyped statistic. Or to break you of your reliance on groupthink in order to ration a situation. You aren't the only one here and not the only one of a more liberal mindset either who does that. I've thrown up in my mouth a little every time I see a "Republican" here call all welfare recipients parasites as if they know the lives and circumstances of every single one of them.

Individual human beings, with all their flaws and tragedies, are still beautiful and can contribute more than any political party (right or left) can hope to squeeze out of them or squeeze them into through pandering, broad-swathe statements, and allegations that "I speak for the..."s.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thank you for the opinion piece. I appreciate it and for the most part agree. I am a choir to which you can't preach enough about this kind of thing. It was a good read and I agree with the final paragraph:

"There are undoubtedly thousands of Tea Partiers who would love to purge Washington of well-connected lobbyists, high-priced political consultants and others who take millions of taxpayer dollars while condemning the lawmakers who spend it. They should take a long look at the leaders and candidates who are driving their movement and decide whether purging begins at home."

In my case, for me and I presume many other individuals, I am not beholden to an organization to tell me what to think or which rabbles to rouse. Yet I will identify as a "tea partier". I do question my leaders and I do so out of respect because I want to know what they know, I wish to discover what influences their decisions, and I want to offer insight into another way in the face of bum legislation.

That being said, and out of curiosity and not petty poking, which Democratic leaders do you question? Why? I will take you at your word that Democrats have these deep, philosophical meetings to hammer things out and question their own leadership. As you have an inside track on this, please tell me about it.

grumpy

.

grumpy

Re: "Contango, grumpy, SamAdams, and the many others here I ask you: was President Bush the best, last hope for humanity with flawless economic sense and who would inspire you to undermine your ideals to show cursory solidarity?"

I have made my feelings known about bush jr. I didn't back him after he was in office for 2 years and disliked him after another 6 months. He is why I haven't voted for a main "party" candidate since 2000, no "patyy" candidate have been worth voting for, and he cured me of voting for the lessor of two pi$$ poor candidates. The patriot act was an abomination and obama had several chances to do away with it. Instead he extended it's life and expanded its reach. Which is more foolish? making it and passing it, or after seeing it is bad to extend it and expand it after seeing how bad it is? Then have followers say bush started the bad thing and never mention that obama extended it and expanded its reach.

grumpy

doubled

coasterfan

Total number of Executive Orders by recent presidents:
Nixon 346
Ford 169
Carter 320
Reagan 381
Bush Sr. 166
Clinton 364
Bush Jr. 291
Obama 167

Now, please tell me again how Obama is doing things any differently than any other president. To me, what is amazing about the above list is that Obama has used Executive Action to bypass Congress LESS than all but one of his predecessors, despite being hobbled by the most intransigent, obstinate Congress in American history.

Seriously, folks. When the opposing party's Speaker announces that their #1 goal is to do everything possible to assure that Obama's initiatives fail, in my book, that makes them the #1 reason for any failures. Since Congress' approval ratings are more than 30 points below Obama's, it would seem that a lot of Americans would agree with me.

Contango

Re: "Now, please tell me again how Obama is doing things any differently than any other president."

Pres. Obama, SOTU, 2014:

"So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."

I don't remember any recent POTUS threatening that he would use Exec. Orders as a cudgel.

I would NEVER stake this guy in a poker game. He would lose BIG.

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