While he expressed a willingness to work with Congress to pass legislation in 2014, President Obama made clear Tuesday that he's also prepared to use executive actions to advance his economic priorities, readying two simple tools in his presidential toolbox - a pen and a phone.
"We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we're providing Americans the kind of help that they need," President Obama told reporters before a meeting with his Cabinet Tuesday. "I've got a pen and I've got a phone."
The pen, the president said, can be used "to sign executive orders and take executive actions," while the phone will allow the president to bring together non-profits, businesses, and universities to promote a "unifying theme-making sure that this is a country where if you work hard, you can make it."
Touting the upcoming "year of action," the president said he will encourage his Cabinet to utilize all the "tools available" to ensure the year's economic priorities are fulfilled.
"The message to my cabinet and that will be amplified in our State of the Union is that we need all hands on deck to build on the recovery that we're already seeing," the president said. "The economy is improving, but it can be improving even faster."
The president said he is "very pleased" House and Senate negotiators agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Monday evening and pressed Congress to pass it quickly.
"I would urge that Congress pass that funding measure as quickly as possible so that all these agencies have some certainty around their budgets," the president said.