There are plenty of places Obama could find common ground with the GOP

White House/Pete Souza

President Barack Obama talks with Congressional leaders prior to the Rosa Parks statue unveiling ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2013. Pictured, from left, are: Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Article Highlights

  • There are many areas in which leadership by the president could foster bipartisan consensus & lead to accomplishments.

    Tweet This

  • Issues ripe for presidential leadership include immigration reform, & housing finance reform.

    Tweet This

  • The White House these days seems to be inhabited by the campaigner in chief.

    Tweet This

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in US News & World Report's Debate Club in response to the question: Has Obama exercised enough leadership in dealing with Republicans in Congress?

While it is hard to expect President Obama and congressional Republicans to bridge their differences on taxes and spending anytime soon, there are a host of other areas in which leadership by the president could foster bipartisan consensus and lead to substantive accomplishments. Issues ripe for presidential leadership include immigration reform, housing finance reform, energy policy, and securing new trade agreements. Progress in these areas would have numerous beneficial impacts.

Immigration: A bipartisan coalition exists for immigration reform that both improves businesses' ability to hire skilled workers, including students who finish a degree in the United States, and addresses the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country. President Obama has vacillated between hanging back to allow Congress to work and occasionally looking to use the issue as a political wedge. A choice to engage constructively with congressional Republicans could hasten immigration reform.

Housing finance reform: Nine out of 10 mortgages are now funded by the federal government, exposing taxpayers to risk and distorting the allocation of capital. A bipartisan reform would bring in private investors to take risks on housing, but with the government as a secondary backstop to ensure that families can get mortgages across market conditions. President Obama could move this along by putting forward a specific proposal.

Energy policy: New "fracking" technology promises to boost oil and natural gas production, driving down U.S. energy prices and boosting our energy independence. A bipartisan approach would let exploration proceed while ensuring strict environmental protections. President Obama seems ready to take a first step toward a new energy future by approving the Keystone XL pipeline to transport new oil supplies from Canada and the upper U.S. Midwest into the U.S. distribution system.

Trade opening: Mr. Obama will find bipartisan support if he follows through on his promises in the recent State of the Union address to boost our trade relations with Europe and Japan. This would help our economy and those of our key allies.

The White House these days seems to be inhabited by the campaigner in chief. But much is possible if Mr. Obama were to switch to governing by looking to find common ground with Republicans. Leadership by the president in dealing with congressional Republicans is needed.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.