President Barack Obama will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. ET Friday in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, where he will field questions from reporters before later heading off to Hawaii for vacation.
It has been a rough year for the administration, and Obama will be leaving Washington with some big unfinished business. The fumbled rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s HealthCare.gov website still simmers on the front burner for Republicans, making "Obamacare" a continued topic of discussion. Meanwhile, the House and Senate recently passed a two-year budget deal and sent it to the president for his signature. Word is that Obama is pleased with the agreement, which staves off a government shutdown in January and blunts the impact of the next round of sequester cuts.
During his State of the Union Address in February, Obama outlined an ambitious liberal plan that he hoped Republicans would compromise on. When budget crises loomed and threatened a government shutdown, the president called on Republicans to agree “right here, right now to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America.” Of course, in October, the government partially closed because of a funding lapse, and the nation came within hours of default, as Republicans waged war against Obamacare.
Obama also hoped to achieve immigration reform and enact more gun control laws in 2013, but has not been successful in getting Congress to send a bill to his desk on either issue. Another issue reporters are likely to grill the president on is the National Security Agency leaks; a federal judge recently said the once secret collection of domestic phone records is likely unconstitutional. A White House intelligence review panel has recommended the president place some restrictions on the NSA's data mining operation.
All in all, partisan brinkmanship has largely frustrated the president’s second-term agenda so far. The major health reform he achieved in the first term remains a battleground as Republicans focus on the technical problems, casting the entire law as bad policy.
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You can watch a livestream of Obama's press conference via the White House or below.