President Obama speaks about his administration's desire to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. / Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration claimed success Saturday on its "Year of Action," issuing a report detailing new executive orders designed to boost the economy in face of Republican legislative opposition.
"Whenever I can act on my own to create jobs and expand opportunity for more Americans, I will," Obama said in his weekly radio address, promoting the report.
Saying that the president "refuses to let Republicans in Congress hold our country back," the report listed 20 executive actions this year on such items as the minimum wage, manufacturing, college education, retirement savings, job training, climate change, fuel efficiency and overtime pay.
Obama told radio listeners that "we could do a lot more if Republicans in Congress were less interested in stacking the deck in favor of those at the top, and more interested in growing the economy for everybody."
Republicans mocked the "Year of Action" report, saying Obama could boost the economy by signing off on the Keystone oil pipeline, reducing government regulations, doing more to promote new trade deals, and working with them on GOP-proposed jobs bills pending the Senate.
"Slogans won't solve those problems," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "That takes real action."
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer cited the minimum wage as an example of what officials call Obama's "pen and phone" approach.
Obama signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for federal contract workers. In the meantime, he and other White House officials are working to build public support that can pressure congressional Republicans into taking action nationwide.
The goal is to build momentum for "changes from the bottom up," he said.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that if Obama "wanted action, he'd use his pen to approve the Keystone pipeline or use his phone to get Democrats behind a bipartisan plan to boost American exports and create jobs."
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