"The president sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary, to lift folks who want to come up into the middle class,” said Carney in an interview aired on ABC's “This Week” on Sunday.
Obama will address Congress and the nation on Tuesday and try to rescue his stalled domestic agenda after a difficult 2013.
The president has warned Congress that he has a “pen” and a “phone” and will use executive actions to push his policies forward and bypass lawmakers if they fail to act.
Carney said that last year Washington “did not deliver for the American people.”
“The president is very disappointed that the Senate failed to heed the will of the vast majority of the American people when it came to expanding background checks,” said Carney.
But he expressed hope that immigration reform would pass this year.
“We're actually optimistic that 2014 will be the year that Congress delivers to the president's desk a bipartisanship, comprehensive immigration reform bill that meets the principles he laid out and that he can sign into law,” said Carney.
Senators passed a bipartisan bill last summer that tightened border security and created a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. That latter measure though has attracted sharp opposition from conservative lawmakers who dismiss it as “amnesty.”
Reports say that GOP lawmakers are considering their own proposal on immigration that would provide legal status but not citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer on Sunday said that Obama would welcome GOP proposals on immigration but sidestepped questions about whether the president could accept legal status short of citizenship.