Wasserman Schultz: 'The President Is Going to Have to Use His Executive Authority'

By Penny Starr | January 29, 2014 | 12:51 PM EST

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Despite criticism of President Barack Obama’s pledge that he will use his executive authority and executive orders to advance his agenda regardless of Congress, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said the president “should use his executive authority.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday following the president’s State of the Union speech, CNSNews.com asked Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz,  “What do you think of the criticism about using executive order(s) to get things done on climate change or [the] minimum wage?”

“Well, the ball’s in their court,” she said, in reference to Republicans in the House of Representatives. “I mean, they have an opportunity to work with him.”

“The president made that very clear,” said Wasserman Schultz, who also is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “We want to make sure that we’re working together and deepen our impact by passing legislation, but there are urgent challenges that we [are] facing and the president is going to have to use his executive authority.”

“And I agree that he should use his executive authority because if the Republicans continue to try to be obstructionists, then we’ve got to make progress,” Wasserman Schultz said.

President Barack Obama works at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union speech. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In his address, Obama said he would use his “authority” to advance his agenda, including increasing government control over federal land.

“And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations,” he said.

Obama also said he would sign an executive order to increase the minimum wage for federally-contracted workers from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. In his address he asked state and local officials to follow suit.

“To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on,” Obama said. “And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example.”