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Is the U.S. congress capable of governing?

January 2nd, 2013
05:57 PM ET
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U.S. Congress - a self-inflicted wound

Prominent U.S. House Democrat Barney Frank speaks to CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney about the dysfunction of U.S. government.

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Dysfunction in D.C.

The fiscal cliff exposed that the U.S. Congress might actually be one of the biggest threats to the U.S. economy.

By Mick Krever, CNN

Like a browbeaten partier slowly facing up to reality on New Year’s Day, the U.S. Congress on Tuesday relented and passed a bill to step back from the fiscal, and possibly recessionary, cliff.

There is still a serious question facing American government as a new year begins: Is the U.S. congress capable of governing?

It was just one year ago that the U.S. stepped to the edge of another cliff, defaulting on its debt payments, and another such deadline is just around the corner. President Obama will begin his second term in under three weeks with a long list of goals, of which tackling the deficit is just one.

Joe Manchin, a conservative Senate Democrat, summed up the frustration succinctly just before the Fiscal Cliff deal was passed.

“Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress,” he said on the senate floor.

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U.S. political storm trumps natural disaster

January 2nd, 2013
04:35 PM ET

By Lucky Gold & Richa Naik, CNN

The U.S. Congress narrowly averted going over the fiscal cliff, all the while ignoring the dire needs of a natural disaster.

Just a little over two months ago Superstorm Sandy devastated Northeastern United States and President Barack Obama along with other politicians promised that the country would not forget.

“We are here for you, and we will not forget. We will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you’ve rebuilt,” he said after touring the devastation caused by the storm.

The U.S. Senate approved $60 billion in emergency relief, but the Republican-led House of Representatives adjourned this week without even bringing the bill to a vote.

Outrage has been swift and passionate.

“There are Republicans who are deeply grieved by this action and there are Democrats on this floor deeply grieved by this action. This is not the right thing to do,” U.S. House Democrat Steny Hoyer said.

“Dysfunction, Mr. Speaker, in this Congress shouldn’t result in punishing victims of Sandy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. This is a sad day,” U.S. House Democrat Nita Lowey said.

With President Obama also demanding action, House leaders now say they will take up the bill once the new congress is sworn in.

Meantime winter temperatures keep falling in the areas where Sandy’s victims are waiting for the richest nation on earth to keep its promise.

Is cliff deal really a win for Americans?


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