Obama faces tough partisan Congress

Jan. 3, 2009 at 3:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. political observers say President-elect Barack Obama may face partisan feuding soon after taking office this month, despite a heavily Democratic Congress.

Some Republicans predict Obama's plan to overhaul federal energy policies and healthcare will stall before talks really begin, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

In the last 15 years, partisan feuding has slowed congressional output to a minimum with party-line voting peaking during the Bush presidency while productivity slumped, the Post reported.

The U.S. Senate conducted the lowest number of votes in 2008 of any year dating back to 1951, Congressional Quarterly reported.

However, potential foes of Obama, a Democrat who served in the Senate, may be reluctant to dismiss his plans outright, especially as the nation suffers its worst economic slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

That lead will make it difficult for Republicans to thwart Obama, and some Republicans believe the opportunity for bipartisanship exists but will be a struggle to achieve, said Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

"It's going to take a real diplomatic effort and effective procedure and leadership to pull it off," Gregg said. "You don't have to get too far into the waters of these issues to start aggravating the sharks."

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