Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that President Obama's pledge to use his "pen and phone" to push policy as Congress remains gridlocked "sounds vaguely like a threat.

Obama is expected to outline some of the ways he can use executive authority to advance some of his agenda in his Tuesday State of the Union address. The prospects have riled some Republicans, including Paul, who say the president's strategy amounts to an end-run around Congress.

"I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance in the sense that one of the fundamental principles of our country were the checks and balances where it was supposed to be hard to pass legislation," Paul said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"He says, 'Well it's hard to convince Congress to do things.' Well yeah, welcome to the real world. It's hard to convince people to get legislation through. It takes consensus."

Many of Obama's policy aims, such as gun control, have failed to make it through Congress. The president will try to push for immigration reform this year, building on ongoing discussions in the House and the Senate.

On that front, Paul said he thinks there's an "in-between" spot on immigration that could secure approval from both chambers.