If Congress won't move on President Obama's agenda, he may take further action—on mortgage refinancing, gay rights, and other issues—on his own. The process could begin this week with new cybersecurity rules for private firms in certain industries, including transportation, the Washington Post reports. Later, he could order private mortgage companies to allow low-interest refinancing for 11 million troubled homeowners, a move Republicans have opposed over tax concerns.
Obama is also considering moving to bar government contractors from discriminating against workers over sexual orientation. And he could lay out new emissions restrictions for existing power plants. Obama will be walking a tightrope, officials note, between advancing his priorities and eroding his relationship with Congress. "It is a very dangerous road he’s going down contrary to the spirit of the Constitution," says Chuck Grassley. But "I think given where he wants to go and where Congress has blocked and stalled and Republicans are recalcitrant to do anything ... he’s going to move," says a former Bill Clinton chief of staff.