With limited time left in office, President Obama threatens to go it alone if he can't work with Congress - using executive orders. Republicans accuse the President of abusing his office.
President Obama's message to Congress was clear.
"I said at the State of the Union and I wanna repeat here today I will act on my own wherever I have the opportunity," said President Obama.
That means more executive orders.
Since taking office, the President has used executive orders 168 times. During President Bush's two terms, he used the orders 291 times. President Clinton used executive orders 364 times.
Some Republican lawmakers argue President Obama's methods are an abuse of power.
"One of the most troubling aspects of the Obama administration is the consistent patter of lawlessness, his willingness to just go it alone," said Senator Ted Cruz.
Legally the President can issue executive orders, but critics see inherent problems with them. Some believe the President will overstep his authority. Others fear such orders further demonstrate an inability of the White House and Congress to work together.
Scholars note, any executive orders the President enacts can be later reversed by Congress.
Legal experts believe Presidential executive orders are balanced by the structure of the government.
"I think one of the brilliant aspects of the founding fathers was the notion of checks and balances," said F. Michael Higginbotham.
F. Michael Higginbotham is a law professor. He understands concerns about Presidential powers but says the safeguards put in place by the framers of the Constitution still work.
"The executive authority that the President has, you know, to issue executive orders, is basically part of enforcement, but enforcing Congressional laws. The President can't enforce his own laws," Higginbotham said.
The balance of power may be clearly defined in the Constitution.
But the President's threat for a rash of executive orders this year if Congress doesn't agree with him will set the stage for even more battles between Capitol Hill and the White House.
For some perspective, take a look at the list of Presidents who have used executive orders most.
President Franklin Roosevelt issued more than 3,500 executive orders. Woodrow Wilson issued 1,803 and Calvin Coolidge issued 1,203.
Tonight in the Daily Pulse we're wondering:
Should presidents use executive action as an end-run around Congress to forge policy? Yes or no? Why or why not?