Barack Obama

Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

Politics
By PETER BAKER
JAN. 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — After five years of fractious political combat, President Obama declared independence from Congress on Tuesday as he vowed to tackle economic disparity with a series of limited initiatives on jobs, wages and retirement that he will enact without legislative approval.

Promising “a year of action” as he tries to rejuvenate a presidency mired in low approval ratings and stymied by partisan stalemates, Mr. Obama used his annual State of the Union address to chart a new path forward relying on his own executive authority. But the defiant “with or without Congress” approach was more assertive than any of the individual policies he advanced.

“I’m eager to work with all of you,” a confident Mr. Obama told lawmakers of both parties in the 65-minute nationally televised speech in the House chamber. “But America does not stand still — and neither will I. 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.”

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