Sunday 4 December 2016

Obama faces battle to keep word on breaking political deadlock

Robert Schmuhl

Published 01/01/2013 | 17:00

As Barack Obama looks ahead to 2013 and the beginning of his second White House term, a statement he made 18 months ago describes the stark reality he confronts in trying to exercise presidential leadership.

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Frustrated with the Republican-majority House of Representatives to reach agreement over government revenues and spending back in July 2011, Obama said in a prime-time address: "The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government."

In recent weeks, as the president and House wrangled over proposals to keep the US from taking an economic belly-flop off the so-called "fiscal cliff", dysfunction seemed on conspicuous display. Even a plan crafted personally by House Speaker John Boehner to raise taxes on millionaires failed to muster enough support among his Republican colleagues and never came to a vote.

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