Obama faces more challenges before 2014 midterms

February 5th, 2014

With the 2014 midterm elections just a few months away, President Barack Obama has found himself at odds with some members of his party as well as Republicans.


One of the first matters Obama has been facing is the Keystone Pipeline XL. This oil pipeline runs from Alberta, Canada to south of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. Proposals to extend the pipeline to further reaches of the U.S. have proven to be controversial, according to NBC News.


Supporters of the pipeline have indicated that it is beneficial because it will help transfer oil faster from the fields to greatly populated areas. Backers of the proposal have also claimed that it will help lower the dependence on foreign oil suppliers such as in the Middle East.


On the other hand, many liberals have also  been voicing criticism of the proposed pipeline extensions. Much of this stems from the belief that it will be harmful to the environment and increase climate change, according to CNN.


Barack Obama, Joe Biden

On Monday, Feb. 3, Obama met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has been strongly opposed to his proposal for allowing Congress to vote quickly to approve international trade pacts, according to the Associated Press. The meeting was primarily held to discuss policy that would be able to help fellow members of the Democratic Party.


Reid is not the only Democrat who has recently been in opposition towards the White House on some issues. Many have been growing increasingly frustrated with Obama’s attitude toward working with the Capitol. This attitude has varied between both liberal and moderate members of the party.


Democrats who are currently up for reelection in November have continued to voice concerns with the administration due to the risk of losing their seats. This is particularly true for southern members, such as Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C). Both women represent the moderate wing of the party in the Senate and face very tough bids to retain their seats.  As a result, both have been highly critical of Obama’s handling of key policy matters such as the Health Care overhaul, according to The Wall Street Journal.


“All of these folks got elected in the first place by being really strong advocates for their states,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s longtime adviser. “And sometimes the interests of their individual state may be at odds with the administration, but that’s OK. They have a job to do.” This seems to sum up the way much of the White House feels about some of the party’s dissent. Although Obama counts on Democratic unity for his policies, he also realizes that such action could cost the party the Senate in November.


Immigration reform has also proven to be another big issue facing the administration. Obama and fellow Democrats have put forth another proposal that has been met with strong opposition from conservatives. Many House members have already indicated that they will make sure the bill doesn’t reach the floor.


Despite these challenges, the president seems determined to do what it takes to achieve the most success in the final midterm election year of his presidency.


Editor’s Note: Information from The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, NBC News and CNN was used in this report.