With gridlock still paralyzing the U.S. Congress on some economic issues, President Barack Obama on Monday sought to make new allies in state governors.
During a meeting with the National Governors Association at the White House, Obama told state executives that among his economic priorities are jobs, training, education and wages and that he is looking forward to working with them to achieve successes in those areas.
“This has to be a year of action,” Obama said. “I’m eager to work with Congress wherever I can.”
The president told the governors that where Congress has shown “little appetite” in working on priority issues such as minimum wage, universal pre-K and Obamacare, states have taken a practical approach to making things work.
“You want to do right by your people,” Obama said, later telling governors that when their constituents succeed, so does America.
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“We want to work with you,” the president added. “I’m committed to making sure that every single member in my cabinet ... will be responsive to you.”
But the president’s top issues are just as divisive at the state level as they are on Capitol Hill. On the Sunday shows, some Republican governors voiced concerns over Obamacare and Medicaid expansion programs. Others took issue with Obama’s use of unilateral action and his promise to use executive action where Congress fails to act.
“This administration has a chance to be laser focused on job creation. We’re not doing that,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “This president feels he can act unilaterally. He feels like with the pen and the phone he can make decisions without Congress. I don’t necessarily agree with that.”
Jindal added that if Obama is going to make decisions he should look at increasing domestic production of energy to create good-paying jobs, or delay all the Obamacare mandates, which the governor described as “such a job killer in our economy.”
Jindal also said the Republican Party needs to be one that offers “real solutions” on the issues.
Still, Obama on Monday reiterated that he will not stand for inaction from Congress.
“Wherever I can work on my own to expand opportunities for more Americans I’m going to do that,” the president said.