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Obama outlines toned-down goals for rest of year

Published 10:40am Friday, October 18, 2013

WASHINGTON — Regrouping after a feud with Congress stalled his agenda, President Barack Obama is laying down a three-item to-do list for Congress that seems meager when compared with the bold, progressive agenda he envisioned at the start of his second term.

But given the capital’s partisanship, the complexities of the issues and the limited time left, even those items — immigration, farm legislation and a budget — amount to ambitious goals that will take political muscle, skill and ever-elusive compromise to execute.

“Those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now,” Obama said. “And we could get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what’s good for the American people.”

A breakthrough on any of the three issues would be a welcome development for a political system whose utter dysfunction was put on full display when the government was partially shut down for 16 days and the nation came perilously close to default. Both parties are looking for signs of whether that squabble and its eleventh-hour resolution will make it easier or harder for the two parties to find common ground in the future.

Still, the scaled-back vision for what might be feasible in the short term could be disappointing for Obama’s liberal supporters, who have been looking expectantly to the president to enact as much of his agenda as possible before Washington is consumed next year by midterm elections and the end of Obama’s presidency draws nearer.

 


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