President Barack Obama still hopes to pass immigration reform
and push other policy priorities, but also will focus on
implementation of laws from the earlier part of his tenure,
including healthcare and regulatory reform, the officials said.
Last year the president began his second term with high hopes of
advancing news laws on immigration, gun control and gay rights.
But he was unable to make significant progress with the House of
Representatives, which one official described as having the most
conservative Republican majority in history.
In a background briefing with reporters on Tuesday, officials
said a lot of Obama's goals for the new year would not be
centered on passing laws. Immigration reform remained a top
priority, which will require congressional support. But other
areas such as climate change policy — a big issue this year — could be advanced through executive action.
Obama would spend the coming weeks ahead of his January 28 State
of the Union address working on loose ends from 2013 including
an extension of unemployment benefits, a speech on national
security reforms, and announcements on progress in manufacturing
policies, they said.
The president returned to Washington on Sunday from a roughly two-week
vacation in Hawaii.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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