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Obama's icy relationship with Congress: Can it ever thaw? (+video)

Tension and gridlock have defined dealings between President Obama and Congress ever since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. Yet big issues, including immigration and weak job growth, remain unresolved.

This week, President Barack Obama promoted tougher fuel efficiency standards for trucks. He touted progress on initiatives to strengthen the U.S. patent system. Welcome to Obama's self-proclaimed "year of action." Hardly a day goes by without the president and his top advisers trumpeting policy initiatives the White House is undertaking without the help of Congress. Yet they do seem to be having a cathartic effect inside the White House, which was in need of a jolt after a frustrating and disjointed 2013.
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Relations between the White House and Congress reached a low in February when House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio said it would be tough for the House to move on immigration reform this year. He cited a lack of trust in President Obama to implement a new immigration law, saying he's not enforcing current ones.

Ever since Republicans took control of the House in 2010, tension and gridlock have defined dealings between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Indeed, 2013 went down as the least productive year for Congress since World War II, and it included an impasse between Mr. Obama and lawmakers that partially shut down the federal government for 16 days in the fall.

White House-Congress relations could get even more polarized if, in this fall's midterm elections, the GOP takes the Senate, where it needs a net gain of only six seats. Yet big issues, in addition to immigration, remain unresolved: weak job growth, America's expensive entitlement programs that drive up the national debt, and Iran's nuclear program, to name a few.

With three years to go in this presidency, can the relationship between Obama and Congress be saved in hopes of getting some business done? Or perhaps more realistically, can the relationship at least be improved?


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