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Nation & World

Obama to promote fixing bridges, highways

President Barack Obama meets with his cabinet members in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. From left are, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and the president, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and  Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
President Barack Obama meets with his cabinet members in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. From left are, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and the president, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama wants his Cabinet secretaries to hit the road and is urging them to "be creative about how we can make real progress" on issues where Congress won't act.

Obama, meeting Cabinet members at the White House Tuesday, said he would prefer that Congress act on issues such as immigration and infrastructure because laws are more sweeping than his own administrative actions.

Recalling last week's trip to Minnesota, Obama said Americans are "extraordinarily cynical about Washington right now."

"We're not always going to be able to get things through Congress, at least not this Congress," Obama said. "I want to make sure we emphasize not what we can't do, but what we can do in the coming months."

Later Tuesday, Obama was mixing a little Fourth of July patriotism with a pitch to fix the nation's bridges and highways.

He planned to call on Congress to close tax loopholes and use the money on infrastructure projects. He will issue his appeal at Washington's Key Bridge, named after "Star-Spangled Banner" author Francis Scott Key. The bridge is getting repairs from the Highway Trust Fund, which expires at summer's end if Congress doesn't act.

The White House said Obama wants his Cabinet secretaries to travel this summer to listen to Americans' concerns.

The meeting came a day after Obama declared that he would act on his own to address weaknesses in the nation's immigration system after House Speaker John Boehner informed him that the House would not take up an immigration overhaul this year.

Obama has already taken executive action to require federal contractors to pay a higher minimum wage and initiating steps to to lower carbon emissions in coal-fired power plants.

Republicans have pushed back against the tactic, saying Obama has overstepped his authority. Last week, Boehner threatened to file a lawsuit to halt Obama's unilateral measures.

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