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During his first two and a half years in office, President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress have created a substantial record of policy accomplishment—the economic stim- ulus, bringing the financial system back from the brink of collapse, successfully rescuing two automakers, a move to universal health care, sweeping reform of financial regulation, and major changes in student loan programs, among many others. Though the country has yet to fully recover from the recession, it could still be said that we will survive the crisis due to the policies and fast action that were implemented in the Obama administration. Nevertheless, the political standing of both the president and congressional Democrats slipped steadily through much of this difficult period, and the voters administered a substan- tial rebuke in the November 2010 midterm elections. Most of his Democrat allies lost office and a Republican majority took over the House of Representatives. Republicans differ in principles and ideas and this has caused Obama's administration to experience political dif- ficulties since then. It is no longer possible for President Obama to advance his agenda with support from only his own party.


Instead, he is forced either to try and negotiate with an


emboldened Republican House majority or endure two years of confrontation and gridlock. Because of the increasingly polarized politics, the American people are growing


increasingly frustrated with the lack of economic and governmental progress. The recession is still affecting a lot of Americans, leaving many scared, confused and uncertain of the future. Economic growth has slowed to a crawl, the private sector generated jobs at an anemic pace, and unemployment remains stuck near 10 percent. The number of workers remaining jobless for six months or more soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression. The country’s economic future is at stake as well. The battle over the looming budget deficit has both sides fighting over cuts in programs, and debating the need for increasing taxes.


President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011.


(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


The Obama


Administration


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