Obama returns to Washington, 'fired up' for final year of presidency

HONOLULU -- U.S. President Barack Obama is returning to the rancour of the nation's capital after two weeks of fun and sun in his native Hawaii, saying he's "fired up" for his final year in office and ready to tackle unfinished business.

See Full Article

At the top of Obama's priority list is executive action that is expected to expand when background checks are required for gun purchases. Obama is meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday to discuss a three-month review of what actions he could take to help reduce gun violence.

The actions, which are staunchly opposed by Republicans and likely to spark a legal fight, underscore Obama's desire to keep up an aggressive agenda in 2016, even as the public's attention shifts to the presidential election.

Obama spent much of his vacation out of the public eye, playing golf with friends and dining out on the island of Oahu with his family. He also worked on his final State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 12.

The address to Congress is a high-profile opportunity for the president to try to reassure the public about his national security stewardship after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. Advisers say Obama will also look for other opportunities to keep security issues at the forefront as he tries to ease Americans' concerns.

"Over the coming weeks and months, the American people should expect the president to continue to communicate directly about his commitment to fighting terrorism and protecting the homeland," spokesman Eric Schultz said.

Congressional Republicans have outlined a competing agenda for January, saying they'll spend the first days of 2016 taking another crack at eliminating keys parts of the president's health insurance law and ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The legislation is unlikely to become law, but it is popular with the GOP base in an election year.

The debate over Obama's gun actions will quickly spill over into the presidential campaign. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has already called for more aggressive executive actions on guns, while Republican candidates largely oppose efforts to expand background checks or take other steps that curb access to guns.

In his weekly radio address, Obama said tens of thousands of people have died in the U.S. from gun violence since background check legislation stalled three years ago.

"Each time, we're told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn't do anything," Obama said. "We know that we can't stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?"

Federally licensed gun sellers are required by law to seek criminal background checks before completing a sale. But gun control advocacy groups say some of the people who sell firearms at gun shows are not federally licensed, increasing the chance of sales to customers prohibited by law from purchasing guns.

Despite his deep differences with Republicans, Obama has cited two agenda items for 2016 that have bipartisan support: a free trade agreement with 11 other nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership and changes in the criminal justice system that would reduce incarceration rates for nonviolent offenders. He often points out that the U.S. accounts for 5 per cent of the world's population and 25 per cent of its inmates.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Key vote looms for Russia sanctions bill opposed by Trump

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Republican-led House is set to vote soon on a sweeping Russia sanctions package that defies the White House by demanding that U.S. President Donald Trump get Congress' permission before lifting or easing the economic penalties against Moscow. Source
  • 'I will take dramatic action': Scaramucci threatens to chop staff if White House leaks don't stop

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump's new communications director says he will take "dramatic action," including cutting staff, if leaks originating from the administration don't stop. In his first round of media interviews since his press conference after being named to one of the top jobs in Washington, D.C. Source
  • Five shot inside east-end Toronto bar

    Canada News CTV News
    Five people were shot inside an east-end Toronto bar early Sunday morning. Police said shots were fired inside McGradies Tap & Grill around 2:30 a.m. Three victims were located inside the bar and transported to the hospital. Source
  • Baby Charlie Gard protesters to rally as hospital reports threats

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON - Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats. Source
  • Sergei Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S., ends his term

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- The Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, a prominent figure in the controversy over Russia's possible involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has ended his assignment in Washington. The Russian Embassy in Washington announced on Twitter that Kislyak's tenure ended on Saturday. Source
  • Good Samaritans double stolen sock donations for homeless shelter

    Canada News CTV News
    A Toronto man was overcome with gratefulness after his co-workers and members of the public helped replace stolen goods meant for a homeless shelter. Thomas Aquino was devastated when 450 pairs of socks and two bags of canned goods meant for the Good Shepherd homeless shelter were stolen from his van. Source
  • Good Samaritans double sock donations stolen from homeless shelter

    Canada News CTV News
    A Toronto man was overcome with gratefulness after his co-workers and members of the public helped replace stolen goods meant for a homeless shelter. Thomas Aquino was devastated when 450 pairs of socks and two bags of canned goods meant for the Good Shepherd homeless shelter were stolen from his van. Source
  • Princes William, Harry remember their final phone call with Princess Diana

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON - It was a typical phone call between two boys and their mother, who was on vacation in France. It was brief — the boys wanted to get back to playing with their cousins, not spend time on the phone chatting. Source
  • Forest fire triggers landmine explosions in Croatia

    World News CTV News
    ZAGREB, Croatia - Emergency officials say a forest fire that has spread to southern Croatia from neighbouring Montenegro has triggered 34 explosions, probably from mines left over from the region's war in the 1990s. The area near the walled Adriatic city of Dubrovnik was a frontline during the conflict that erupted after Croatia declared independence in 1991. Source
  • Protesters rally to support baby Charlie Gard's parents as hospital reports threats

    World News CBC News
    Protesters in London backing the fight of British parents of a critically ill baby to get him an experimental medical treatment in the U.S. plan a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, as officials at a British hospital where Charlie Gard is on life support say they have received death threats. Source