President Barack Obama and the Closely Divided 112th Congress

    View Author 1 December 2010

    With Republican candidates having made significant gains in the mid-term elections by capturing the House and increasing their share of the Senate, President Barack Obama faces a starkly different legislative environment as he seeks to advance the balance of his policy agenda and as he runs for reelection in 2012. The President has already accomplished two of his most ambitious legislative goals on which he campaigned—health care reform and financial services reform, but two remain unfulfilled—energy/climate change legislation and immigration reform. And now, notwithstanding the need to create jobs and further stimulate the economy, he will likely add deficit reduction as a third one. Will he go for comprehensive bills or will he try for incremental reform? Will he choose confrontation or compromise at the outset? Will he give up on Congress and try to accomplish as much as possible through regulatory action? And how will action in the courts and international events, including the war in Afghanistan, the situation in Iraq, ongoing developments in Iran, and terrorist threats, limit his domestic agenda?