News / USA

Obama Agenda Faces Stiff Opposition in 2011

President Barack Obama (file photo)
President Barack Obama (file photo)

Multimedia

Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama made progress on an ambitious agenda in 2010. But a larger and stronger contingent of Republicans in Congress will present much stiffer opposition in 2011.  

President Obama scored a number of legislative victories in 2010.

He signed into law tougher regulation of U.S. financial institutions, stronger security along the border with Mexico, and one of his top priorities of the year: sweeping reform of the way Americans pay for health care.


But as the nation's economy stagnated, so did the president's approval ratings.

And in November, voters handed opposition Republicans control of the House of Representatives, and sent Obama a message.

As a result, many analysts agree that the president will have a difficult time getting legislation passed in 2011. "And the big question the people are wondering is, 'Are we going to have two years of gridlock, or are we going to have two years of bipartisan accomplishment?,'" said Democratic Party strategist Mark Penn.

Democrats and Republicans differ about the meaning of November's election results.  

President Obama sees it as a call for the two parties to work together. "The American people did not vote for gridlock.  They didn't vote for unyielding partisanship. They're demanding cooperation and they're demanding progress," he said.

But conservative commentator Amy Holmes says the election results were a rejection of Mr. Obama's programs. "This was the biggest sweep since 1938, and voters have said that they do not want what they consider this left-wing, liberal, big-government agenda," she said.

President Obama faces a tough battle in 2011 to preserve his signature accomplishment of 2010, passage of health care reform.

Republicans want to overturn the law. And their new majority in the House, and larger minority in the Senate, could hamper the president's initiatives on climate change and immigration reform.  

"Right now I think the president has got to do two key things: move to the center, focus on the economy," said Penn

Conservative commentator Amy Holmes also says the president should move to the political center. "I think in the next two years, if President Obama does move to the center, if he does triangulate, much like Bill Clinton did, and pursue policies where there is common ground with Republicans, he can get small things done," she said.

One unannounced priority is getting the president's re-election campaign off to a successful start.

Penn helped President Bill Clinton overcome big midterm election losses in 1994 and win re-election two years later. He says Mr. Obama can do the same in 2012. "So if he could get unemployment down, if he moves to the center, he has a really solid base of supporters. A lot of people in the country like him and they want him to succeed," Penn said.

Penn, Holmes and many other political analysts agree that in politics, two years is a lifetime.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid