Provoking Republican lawmakers with an in-your-face vow to bypass Congress if necessary, President Obama said Tuesday night that he would use his executive authority on a dozen issues including income inequality and job training to spur “a year of action” for his stalled agenda.

“America does not stand still — and neither will I,” Mr. Obama said in the annual State of the Union address. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

In the Republican response, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state said the GOP has a more hopeful vision for the nation that empowers people rather than the government.

The president embarked on his go-it-alone strategy even before he started his speech, with the White House announcing a dozen executive actions that the president already has taken or will take in the coming weeks, including a move to create a class of “starter” retirement savings accounts available through employers.

Another of his actions will raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 per hour to $10.10. The Labor Department said about 16,000 federal employees in 2012 received the federal minimum wage.