WASHINGTON (AP) — No breakthroughs were predicted when President Barack Obama set out on his courtship of Congress. And there's no sign any have been achieved. That's particularly true on reducing the government's borrowing and debt.
Over and over, House and Senate Republicans told Obama he must lead, tone down the political attacks and lean on Democrats to concede to lower spending on benefit programs like Medicare.
Over and over, the president told Republicans that if he is to make concessions on Medicare and other programs, they would have to agree to higher taxes.
On that, there was little if any give. Republicans said they gave ground on taxes over the year-end holidays and noted that since then Obama's approval ratings have receded for the first time since his re-election.