Third Way

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.  

Bernie's Big Day in D.C.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a media gaggle in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 26. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a big, but mixed day in Washington Wednesday, meeting one-on-one with President Barack Obama at the White House, but also getting blasted by another key Democrat, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who criticized the presidential hopeful’s health care plan as unrealistic.

Just days before the crucial Iowa caucuses, Sanders also got a chance to reversee a previous stand on gun legislation, as Democrats on Capitol Hill pushed to roll back a 2005 law that protects firearms manufacturers from liability when their guns are used to commit crimes.

Obama Makes Gun Control a 2016 Issue

Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison, was killed on-air in the WDBJ-TV shooting last year, speaks at a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol in September to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Obama administration is poised to make buying guns an election-year issue, essentially inviting Republicans to a high-stakes courtroom brawl.  

The White House unveiled a snapshot of the steps it is taking to tighten federal gun laws under his executive powers ahead of remarks President Barack Obama will deliver just before noon on Tuesday from the East Room. But even before Obama announces the controversial actions, congressional Republicans and the party’s 2016 presidential candidates are livid.