In case you missed it: a bullet-point list of Obama's to-do list in 2015


In 2014, President Obama issued a direct challenge to Congress in his State of the Union: Here is my agenda, and if you don't do your part I will do what I can with my executive power.

There was no such direct threat in his 2015 address, but that doesn't mean he is any less reliant on Congress. Nearly all of his proposals in 2015, including expanding paid sick leave, making two years of community college free, and reforming the tax code, require Congress to act. He can do even less alone this year than he could last year.

Mr. Obama still has a to-do list for himself, but he also seems prepared to bombard Congress with proposals that will only become law if they take action. He has an ambitious list of proposals and monetary requests for his 2015 budget, but Congress still controls the purse strings. His State of the Union address was all about putting those proposals on the table, and offering a contrast with Republicans.

"Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?" he said Tuesday.

He also had a few requests for the corporate world that fit into his theme of making life better for the American middle class.

Here's a look at what Mr. Obama has promised to do, where he needs Congress, and what he has asked of CEOs around the country:

The president's to-do list:

  • Veto, veto veto: With Congress fully in Republican hands for the first time during his presidency, Mr. Obama no longer has a Democrat-controlled Senate to stop bills he won't sign from reaching his desk. That means his veto pen stands to get quite a workout this year, and Mr. Obama has already pledged to veto seven bills in the pipeline. In his State of the Union address, he pledged to veto anything that: "[puts] the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or [unravels] the new rules on Wall Street, or [refights] past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix." He also warned that he would reject any bill with fresh sanctions on Iran while the U.S. and other world powers are still negotiating a deal to end its nuclear program, and hinted that he would stop Congress from trying to block anything his administration has done unilaterally to fight climate change.

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