Bipartisan Policy Center

A Final Round for Obama's Wish List
Will president's lame-duck status weigh down his ambitions?

President Barack Obama speaks during a commencement ceremony at Howard University on May 7. If he wants to achieve his final legislative goals, he’ll have to act swiftly. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Barack Obama vowed to play offense during his final year in office, but the president has precious little time to advance his legislative agenda as Congress returns for a sprint toward two lengthy election-year breaks.  

A president with a history of brittle negotiations with Republican lawmakers has not shied away from ambitious agenda items. They include an emergency spending measure to counter the Zika virus , an overhaul of federal criminal justice policies and a massive trade pact with Asian allies.  

Who Has Time for Legislating Anyway? | K Street Files

Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services panel, was in a rush to recess a lengthy markup so he and the other lawmakers could make it across the street to the Capitol for evening floor votes.  

But Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., pleaded for a few seconds to squeeze in his comments before the gavel.