Obama flexes his muscles on immigration and debt

President George W. Bush and Barack Obama meet in Oval Office1President Barack Obama is putting together a highly ambitious agenda for his second term in office, pushing aggressively in areas where he believes he has political leverage but taking a more cautious approach when it comes to issues on which he has somewhat less control.

Obama is putting pressure on the Republicans in Congress when it comes to immigration reform and the debt ceiling, two of the biggest issues in which he seems to be favored by both political risks and the sentiment of the general public in the United States.  Obama is also seeking a powerful package when it comes to gun control following the outrage over the recent school shootings, although many believe that this issue may be an uphill battle.

Of the top tier issues to face in his second term, immigration reform is the one with which Obama has the greatest amount of leverage.  The White House has been giving out hints about a comprehensive bill for 2013 that would include offering millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to US citizenship.

The Republican Party, still stinging from their crushing defeat in November’s election, have been making noises in favor of immigration reform, though may be less pleased by a sweeping bill that includes provisions for citizenship.  This is one area, however, in which if Obama does decide to go big, Republican leaders may have little choice but to follow given the degree of public sentiment over the issue.