President Barack Obama will say in tonight’s State of the Union address that he’s prepared to act without Congress to advance parts of his agenda. That won’t get him very far.

When it comes to the biggest issues for U.S. companies — immigration, corporate taxes, trade and transportation spending — there’s very little Obama can do on his own without agreement from a divided Congress.

Obama’s vow to bypass lawmakers is itself an acknowledgment of narrower ambitions for his sixth year in office, and a sign that the gridlock that stymied action on key business priorities is likely to continue in 2014.