Now the real battle begins: ‘fiscal cliff’ looms for Obama with Congress deadlocked
Wednesday 07 November 2012
The US Congress faces continuing gridlock as the country hurtles towards a “fiscal cliff”, with the House of Representatives and the Senate remaining as divided as before amid record spending by outside groups to influence the result.
One notable result in the Senate was the upset victory by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate who defeated Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts for the seat held over decades by Democratic legend Ted Kennedy.
However, another feature of the election was the punishment of at least two Tea Party-backed Senate hopefuls who, after winning the support of the Republican Party’s conservative grass roots in primary elections, failed to be endorsed by their states’ electorate as a whole.
After losing the House in the 2008 tidal wave for President Barack Obama that put Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, the Republican Party, buoyed by right-wing extremists in the Tea Party, seized back the House in 2010 on an anti-tax and anti-government platform.
The election outcome means that the House will remain under control of the House, while the Senate will continue to have a majority of Democrats.
In Indiana, Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock was defeated by Democrat Joe Donnelly. Mr Mourdock was backed by the Tea Party and had earlier beaten veteran Senator Richard Lugar in a primary. However, the candidate’s remark that if a woman became pregnant after rape it was “something God wanted to happen”, embarrassed the party’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, just before the election. The Indiana contest was the most costly the state has ever seen, with outside groups and the party campaigns spending more than $25m on television advertisements.
In Missouri, incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin, a six-term Congressman backed by the Tea Party. Mr Akin’s remarks about women’s bodies avoiding pregnancy after “legitimate rape” led to his disavowal in mid-August by Mr Romney and Republican mainstream. But he defied their calls to stand down and his campaign was funded by social conservative groups.
Another major scalp for the Democrats would be Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party ideologue and Congresswoman from Minnesota. She ran an ill-fated campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate and has poured $19m into her campaign against businessman Jim Graves, who has spent $1.5m but has managed to close in on Ms Bachmann. The pair were locked in a tight race last night.
The spending in the Minnesota contest made it the second highest in the nation, after Florida’s 18th district, where Republican Congressman Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy have spent $24m between them, according to the website opensecrets.org.
In Maine, outgoing centrist Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who complained about the obstructionism by extremists in both main parties, was replaced by independent Angus King, a former governor who overcame challenges from both Republican and Democratic candidates. He is likely to vote with the Democratic majority in the Senate.
Many of the Congressional candidates’ televised exchanges highlighted the gravity of the “fiscal cliff”. Congress is required to act before the end of the year in order to stave off automatic cuts of $600bn in tax rises and spending cuts which could pitch America back into recession. But the House speaker, John Boehner, has played down talk of a possible “grand bargain” in the so-called Lame Duck session of Congress which continues until January.
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Any terrorist seizure of the plane ‘would have required one hell of a piece of planning’
Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Hijackers, pirates or suicide – the theories surrounding the mystery
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Nemanja Matic interview: My family were in tears when we left Lisbon
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Facebook links are profiting hackers
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...