A top White House official said the administration is planning "audacious executive action" throughout President Obama's last year in office.
During a breakfast discussion Wednesday in Washington, D.C., White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough took some questions on the president's final State of the Union address the night before.
One reporter remarked that unlike with previous State of the Union speeches, Obama did not announce any executive actions this time around, and asked McDonough if the president now has a more "constrained view" of the utility executive power because executive action can be undone.
"I think the speech itself was an executive action," McDonough quipped, before dismissing the question by saying, "we'll do audacious executive action throughout the course of the year, I'm confident of that."
"I think maybe what you're seeing are efforts that make sure that the steps that we take are ones that we can lock down and not leave hanging, subjected to undoing through [the] Congressional Review Act or otherwise," McDonough added, without providing specifics.
The president, McDonough said, is going to demand of his staff that everything the administration does "is infused with the sense of possibility that has both undergirded this administration but also this country for time immemorial."
He also said Obama will be asking his staff "'why not?'" pursue particular actions in the administration's final year.
Such a process is "part of the way" the administration approached last year, McDonough continued, adding "we feel good about last year."
Last year, Obama issued 29 executive orders, according to the Federal Register. That pales in comparison to 2009, the first year of Obama's tenure at the White House, when he had 39 executive orders.
But Obama's executive actions, which offer less formal policy guidance compared to executive orders, have drawn just as many complaints from Republicans. For example, the GOP has most recently complained about two rounds of Obama's executive action on gun control, and in 2014, he released a series of controversial executive actions on immigration that have since been challenged by 26 states.
In 2016, the administration is "going to lean pretty hard into it," McDonough said.