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Obama: Americans Don’t Want me ‘Twiddling My Thumbs’

Obama Defends Stance on Executive Decisions 0:50

President Barack Obama defended his use of executive actions Wednesday, saying that the American people don’t want him “twiddling my thumbs” as Congress remains in gridlock.

"We're going to make sure that every time we take one of these steps that we are working within the confines of my executive power, but I promise you the American people don't want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress to get something done," he said.

"I'm going to seize those opportunities," he said of actions like aiding the expansion of student loans or promoting equal pay for women. "And that's what I think the American people expect me to do."

But Obama also dismissed the idea that he has a “green light” to take any action he wants, saying that his administration carefully considers the legality of possible executive orders.

"I am bound by the Constitution," he said. "I am bound by separation of powers. There's some things we can't do."

Obama is widely expected to take executive action to address the border crisis and the larger issue of immigration. Republicans have accused the president of abusing his presidential authority, and the House has initiated a lawsuit against him regarding his use of executive actions surrounding the implementation of the health care law.

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- Carrie Dann