Monday 18 December 2017

Obama faces battle to keep word on breaking political deadlock

Robert Schmuhl

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.

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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