For the first six years of his presidency, President Barack Obama has had a friendly Congress—or, at worst, a friendly Senate—to protect him from legislation he opposes. But when the 114th Congress starts in January, that will no longer be the case: Republicans will have control of both chambers of Congress. Senate Democrats can use the filibuster to block legislation but there are many issues where Republicans may gain enough Democratic votes to overcome it, such as the Keystone XL pipeline.
Other presidents, though, have had to use their veto power much more frequently. Franklin D. Roosevelt, for instance, vetoed 635 bills during his 12 years in office. Bill Clinton vetoed 37 bills. Obama has vetoed just two bills during his presidency.
Obama isn’t powerless though. He still has the power to issue executive orders on a wide array of issues, and has done so repeatedly during his second term as congressional gridlock has blocked much of his domestic agenda. Past presidents have also repeatedly used this power, too. Ronald Reagan, for instance, issued 381 executive orders. Through almost six years in office, Obama has issued 193.