Nearly two months after being sworn into his second term in office, President Obama is beginning to make headway on some of his major second term agenda proposals.
He’s already signed the Violence Against Women Act into law and overseen a drop in the unemployment rate. His next big achievement may very well be immigration.
The policy achievement became more realistic today, as Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul embraced a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The senator, who once supported an underground electrified fence method to protect the border, now believes undocumented immigrants “should be allowed to become U.S. taxpayers and ultimately get a shot at citizenship.”
That switch has House Democrats like Rep. Luis Gutierrez telling reporters that immigration reform can pass. ”All the talk about a new attitude among Republicans is true,” he said, adding, “I would like a clean, clear, quick path to citizenship and I think a lot of people on my side would, but we are working to find bipartisan agreement.”
Gun reform is a tougher battle. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid upset many gun control supporters with Tuesday’s decision to drop the assault weapons ban from the major piece of gun legislation his party is pursuing.
But the sacrificial move may save other pieces of reform that have broader support, including new restrictions on gun trafficking, expanded background checks, limits on high capacity magazines, and money for school security.
“It’s too early to say the assault weapons ban is off the table and it’s over,” says Democratic strategist Margie Omero. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told CNN Tuesday, ”We’re going to find the votes.”
The battle over the minimum wage may be one of the hardest for Obama to win on Capitol Hill. Just last week House Republicans struck down a bill supported by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin that would have raised the rate to $10.10 per hour.
However, movement at the state level could help put pressure on federal lawmakers. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature appear to have reached a tentative deal to raise New York’s minimum wage to $9 per hour, the same rate the president supports.