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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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national lead

January 28th, 2014
05:11 PM ET

Education secretary weighs in on Obama going it alone

(CNN) - President Barack Obama is expected to address education reform during tonight's State of the Union.

And although, according to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, "education should be the ultimate bipartisan issue," bypassing Congress is not out of the question.

"If Congress continues to be dysfunctional, we just have to do the right thing, whether it's more children having access to childhood education, whether it's continuing to increase high school graduation rates, reduce drop out rates, having more young people going to college," Duncan told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Duncan was echoing the sentiments of his boss; Obama said recently he is ready to go it alone without Congress, through executive orders.

"I have to remind him we do have a constitution," Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at a breakfast Tuesday morning. "The Congress writes the laws, and the President's job is to execute the laws faithfully and if he tries to ignore this he's going to run into a brick wall."

But will the President's strategy to act alone set a precedent that Republicans will follow?

"The first choice is to always work together," said Duncan. "I can't think of a better place to get past the historical dysfunction than around increasing educational opportunity for young people."

For more of our interview with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, check out the video above.

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politics lead

January 28th, 2014
05:01 PM ET

Republican senator: I can't even get Democrats to enact their own Medicare reform

(CNN) - President Barack Obama says he wants to work in a bipartisan fashion, but if he can't, he has a pen in hand.

But Republican Senator Rob Portman says the President "hasn't tried" working with Congress.

"Things are not working, and yet he has not come to Congress in a way that presidents that I've worked for – and I've worked for a couple of them – have," Portman said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Pressed for examples of something Portman wanted to work on with the President and the White House, the Ohio Republican highlighted Medicare reform, saying Obama put means testing in Medicare (specifically, paying more for doctors visits and prescription drugs) in his budget.

“Yet, they will not work with us to try to implement that to be able to save billions of dollars,” said Portman, who said he has gone to the White House, and talked to an official in the Obama administration as recently as today about the issue.

“And I’m told no. We won't do it because in the budget, it's part of tax increases,” said Portman. “The theory is I guess you have to increase taxes on wealthy people in order to cut benefits for wealthy people, which makes no sense."

For more of our interview with Sen. Rob Portman, check out the video above.

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