The disconnect between the White House and Congress has been a major storyline since President Barack Obama took office nearly five years ago. Both factions have been at odds with each other for most of that time, but the problems have been especially pronounced since Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 elections.
There may be no issue that more clearly reflects the divide between the Obama administration and Congress than immigration reform. And as the 2014 legislative session gets into full stride, movement on fixing the nation’s immigration laws will likely be a telling sign for how the year will progress in Washington, D.C.
White House goes it alone
One way the White House has been dealing with its impasse with Congress is to issue executive orders on when the administration feels it has the legal right and ability to affect change. However, that power is very limited when it comes to immigration, since the responsibility to solve issues of border security and citizenship have traditionally rested with Congress.
But in preparation for another year of Congressional inaction, the White House is already talking about being judged not on what gets passed on Capitol Hill, but by the measures it takes on its own.
Still hope for immigration reform
Despite recent history, though, there is some hope that the White House and Congress can find common ground on the major issues of the day, including immigration reform. Some analysts just believe it’s a matter of finding core principles that the two political parties can agree on, while ignoring the more contentious problems.
“The question is what are the core things that Republicans can’t move away from, what are the core things that Democrats can’t walk away from,” Republican pollster David Winston told Businessweek. “That’s part of the process of going back and forth.”