With the start of the new year, millions of Americans have thought up resolutions for the next 12 months. In Washington, as President Barack Obama enters his final full year in the White House, he too has set plans for 2016.
Obama's plans include pushing for domestic and foreign policy reforms, including implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and normalized relations with Cuba, CBS News reported Friday. A senior official in Obama's administration said senior staff members have been instructed to "squeeze every last drop of progress out of the final year." So what are some of the possible items on Obama's agenda?
Obama has pushed for tighter gun laws throughout his presidency but has repeatedly been rebuffed by Republicans in Congress. Now, as soon as next week, the president is expected to unveil executive actions intended to reduce gun violence. The issue has been at the top of Obama's agenda, as he is expected to try and widen background checks, among a number of other possibilities.
Some have speculated the president is also likely to push to close the Guantanmo Bay detention facility in Cuba in his final year. Obama pledged to shut down Gitmo during his 2008 campaign, but Republicans pushed back. Just 107 prisoners remain, CBS reported, and Obama has repeatedly argued maintaining the facility does not make financial sense, adding it serves as a propaganda tool for extremists, who point toward a history of documented abuses at the facility.
Obama is also expected to push forward criminal justice reform in his final year as president. Democrats and Republicans have come together in recent months to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, introducing legislation to that effect in October, and a similar bill currently is making its way through the House. The president said he is "optimistic" about reform during an end-of-year news conference.
Lastly — and perhaps most importantly, following two presidential terms marked by increased political polarization — Obama is likely to try to help Democrats win the White House again. "The president has expressed confidence a Democrat will succeed him in office. But he's not naive [and knows] that that's going to take a lot of work," White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told CBS. "I would definitely expect the president to be out there campaigning."