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Will Congress get anything done in 2012?

As President Obama delivers his State of the Union address, Congress seems poised for a political stalemate.

Jeremy Hobson: President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address this evening. And you can expect to hear about plans to boost job training, rebuild infrastructure, and help underwater homeowners. But the reality is the President does not have the political support in Congress to get much passed this election year.

Our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: No one is expecting much lawmaking before November’s election. If Congress does nothing, taxes will go up and government spending will come down.

Stan Collender at Qorvis Communications says with total gridlock, the deficit will get smaller.

Stan Collender: But it would also do some quick damage to the economy. You’d have spending cuts and tax increases just at a time when the economy is starting to recover.

He says the economic recovery is still too fragile and needs congressional coaxing. But most people figure stalemate will stop just about everything.

Robert Shapiro: I actually believe that conventional wisdom may not be correct this year.

Robert Shapiro says that’s because of Congress’ low approval rating. He was a former campaign adviser for President Bill Clinton.

Shapiro: The members of Congress have got to do something to change the perception that most of them should be thrown out of office. And that means accomplishing something.

He figures the time is right for congressional approval of some economic stimulus projects, like more education and training and rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

Jeremy Hobson:President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address this evening. And you can expect to hear about plans to boost job training, rebuild infrastructure, and help underwater homeowners. But the reality is, the president does not have the political support in Congress to get much passed this election year.

Our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: No one is expecting much lawmaking before November’s election.  If Congress does nothing, taxes will go up and government spending will come down.

Stan Collender at Qorvis Communications says with total gridlock, the deficit will get smaller.

Stan Collender: But it would also do some quick damage to the economy.  You’d have spending cuts and tax increases just at a time when the economy is starting to recover. 

He says the economic recovery is still too fragile and needs congressional coaxing.  But most people figure stalemate will stop just about everything.

Robert Shapiro: I actually believe that conventional wisdom may not be correct this year

Robert Shapiro says that’s because of Congress’ low approval rating.  He was a former campaign adviser for President Bill Clinton. 

Shapiro: The members of Congress have got to do something to change the perception that most of them should be thrown out of office.  And that means accomplishing something. 

He figures the time is right for congressional approval of some economic stimulus projects -- like more education, training and rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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