Sounding as if he'd like to become Mayor of the United States, President Obama told the nation's mayors Thursday that he envies their ability to work without Congress, and he vowed that his presidential pen is "all I need" to help cities this year.
"Every day mayors are proving that you don't have to wait for the gridlock to clear in Congress in order to make things happen," Mr. Obama said at a White House reception for about 250 mayors. "Where Congress is debating things and hasn't been able to pull the trigger on stuff, my administration's going to move forward, and we're going to do it in partnership with all of you."
The president, who has been warning that he intends to issue more executive orders this year, praised Mayors Ralph Becker of Phoenix and Greg Stanton of Salt Lake City for their efforts to end chronic homelessness among veterans. He congratulated Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for a program to create summer jobs.
"I want to work with Congress whenever and wherever I can," Mr. Obama said. "But the one thing I'm ... emphasizing to all my Cabinet members is, we're not going to wait. I've got a pen, and I've got a phone. And that's all I need because with a pen, I can take executive actions. With a phone, I can rally folks from around the country to help grow the economy and restore opportunity."
The mayors are in Washington for their annual conference. The president said he hoped that having his advisers network with mayors Thursday at the White House would spur more actions that can be taken without congressional approval to help cities.
"We want to cooperate and coordinate with you as effectively as we can to make sure that whatever works is getting out there and hitting the streets and actually having an impact on people's lives," Mr. Obama said. "And frankly, there are a lot of things that folks in this town could learn from all of you."
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