Articles on US Congress

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Will the feds raid this Christmas tree? Rick Wilking/Reuters

Goliath vs. 24 Davids: federalism and legal marijuana

Abraham Lincoln said that those who shape public opinion exert an even greater influence than judges and lawmakers. In recent years popular sentiment – on issues like marriage equality and legalization…
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was re-elected despite a tight fight over his tax cuts and resulting deficit, which were revealed to be worse than expected just days after the election. Reuters

Brownback’s Kansas tax experiment may prove death knell for corporate reform

Republican gains in this month’s election, which handed the GOP united control of Congress for the first time since 2006, have lifted hopes that the government can pass corporate tax reform next year…
Barack Obama has signed into law all but two of the bills to come before him, but is likely to use his power of presidential veto more often in the final two years of his term. White House/Pete Souza

US votes for presidential vetoes, filibusters and partisan fractures

Perhaps no sentiment better defines the American political psyche than distrust of government. It prompted the constitutional framers 226 years ago to create a system of national government that separates…
The outside is being renovated, but what about the inside? Jim Bourg/Reuters

How to make the House of Representatives representative

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…

The man who dines alone

Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that only Narendra Modi can claim credit for the landslide victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s just-concluded 16th General Election. The BJP fought…
India’s 14th prime minister is the BJP’s Narendra Modi after a month-long election campaign. EPA

Modi wave sweeps India

After nearly six weeks of voting, the verdict is out. Indians have thrown out the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh in favour of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi…
President Barack Obama’s health care bill is behind a looming US government shutdown by Republicans. AAP

Explainer: why the US government is facing (another) shutdown

The dysfunctions of America’s federal government, primarily caused by Republican intransigence, have created a menagerie of strange new political beasts: fiscal cliffs, sequestrations, nuclear options…
Hail to the chief: Obama is a tonic for the troops. Wikimedia Commons

Barack Obama’s constitutional contortions over Syria

Tensions in the Middle East rose considerably this morning when Russian radar detected the launch of two rockets in the eastern Mediterranean, triggering alerts across the region. After initially claiming…
Partisan gridlock in US politics has led to the recent failure of Barack Obama’s gun reform agenda, which did not get through Congress last week despite public support. EPA/Spencer Platt

Dysfunction by design: why American politics is in gridlock

For all its international power, the United States government seems increasingly powerless to make laws for the benefit of its own people. The recent failure to implement popular gun control measures in…
By opting for restraint in his state of the union speech, Obama presented his ideas not as bold initiatives to revive the liberal tradition, but as pragmatic proposals with widespread bipartisan support. EPA

Obama extends a light hand of liberalism to Americans

Barack Obama opened his fourth state of the union address to Congress with words from another Democratic president, John Kennedy: “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…
President Obama delivered an ambitious inaugural address, but will struggle to get many of his progressive measures through a hostile Congress. EPA/Chip Somodevilla

Obama defends progressive vision in inauguration address

US President Barack Obama’s first inaugural address was largely forgettable. Recognising the large divide between the soaring optimism of his campaign rhetoric and the realities of an economy in the midst…

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