President Obama has already committed to an aggressive fundraising schedule this year to benefit congressional Democrats, but the White House insisted today that he doesn't think he needs a Democratic majority in the House to accomplish his agenda.
"It goes without saying that a president wants those in his party to do well," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters today. However, he added, the 2014 midterm elections are "not a focus of his particularly at this point."
Mr. Obama will hold reported over the weekend that after winning re-election in November, the president began almost immediately to work on putting the House of Representatives back under Democratic control. Following his election night victory, the Post reports, Mr. Obama called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.this year for Democrats running for Congress in 2014 -- noticably more events than he's committed to in past election cycles. The Washington Post
"The president understands that to get anything done, he needs a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives," Israel told the Post. "To have a legacy in 2016, he will need a House majority in 2014, and that work has to start now."
Democrats held onto their majority in the Senate in the 2012 elections, while House Democrats need to gain 17 seats to retake control next year.
Carney today said that Mr. Obama does believe his agenda -- which includes a plan to reduce gun violence, immigration reform and measures like raising the minimum wage -- would be easier to enact with Democrats in control of both chambers. "But it is also the president's belief, and it is established in fact in recent history, that you can achieve important policy objectives with divided government," he said.
Carney insisted the president is expending "great political capital and energy" on working quickly to pass immigration reform. Republicans have shown interest, he noted, in both immigration reform and some gun control measures.