Report: Obama to bypass Congress on gay rights, environment

President Barack Obama walks off of Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, after returning from a Democratic retreat in Annapolis, Md.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

As Congress remains embroiled in weighty negotiations over government spending, immigration reform and gun control, President Obama is considering acting on his own on a host of other major issues.

The president may take executive actions to increase cybersecurity in the private sector, increase gay rights, assist struggling homeowners and boost environmental regulations , according to the Washington Post.

Mr. Obama has used already executive actions to bypass Congress on issues like immigration -- allowing certain undocumented youth to stay in the country legally -- as well as gun violence and student loans. The president has faced some blowback from these moves and has acknowledged that reforms based in legislation are preferred to executive action. He's argued, however, that he can't wait for Congress to act on everything.

As early as this week, according to the Post, Mr. Obama is expected to sign an executive order applying new cybersecurity standards to industries regulated by the executive branch, such as transportation. The executive order would also increase the level of data that the government shares with these companies relating to cyber threats.

The president is also reportedly considering building on a previous executive order he signed to help struggling homeowners, with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, to refinance. His new actions would extend the refinancing relief to struggling homeowners with privately backed mortgages.

Mr. Obama may also sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgender federal contractors, an action that gay rights activists have called on the president to take in the face of congressional inaction.

Finally, Mr. Obama may issue new rules regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants -- a move that would go beyond the rules the Environmental Protection Agency will issue this spring regulating new power plants.