(CNSNews.com) - President Obama has "warmed up" to using executive authority, and when he believes "he has the authority" to "make progress" without action by Congress, he will do it, White House adviser John Podesta told NPR Tuesday morning.
"But he doesn't like to do this, does he?" the NPR host asked Podesta.
"Uh, I think he's warmed up to it," Podesta replied, laughing.
"And I think you'll see that across a wide range of topics, including retirement security, moving forward on his climate change and energy transformation agenda," said Podesta.
"There's a lot that he has the authority to do that's vested in him under the laws of the United States and his constitutional powers, and I think that he's looking forward to a year of action, and I think he's looking forward to tonight (when he gives the State of the Union speech) as a breakthrough year where he can lay out some of these practical, concrete ideas that will get people onboard a stable economic footing and see their wages going up for the first time in a long time," said Podesta.
As an example of what Obama finds acceptable and unacceptable, Podesta pointed to immigration: He said the president would not bypass Congress when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, but he did stop the deportation of young illegal aliens who were brought to the country as children:
"If he believes, and the Justice department believes, he has the authority to make progress, to strengthen the middle class, give people opportunity in this country, he will take it," Podesta said.
Shortly before Podesta spoke to NPR, the White House announced that President Obama will use his executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for people working on federal contracts. And he will call on Congress to pass legislation raising the minimum wage for all other Americans.