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Elections spook Congress, lawmakers get a grip on spending

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By The Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 2010 elections have changed the direction of government only half way through the primary season, with voter anger and economic jitters causing lawmakers to balk at their most basic duties as well as key elements of President Barack Obama's agenda.

After betting their political future on a government-mandated expansion of health care to include millions more Americans, Democrats appear to have little appetite for more legislative showdowns given voter rebellion against government spending amid trillion dollar-plus annual deficits.

The solution in some cases is to simply not vote. Immigration reform is too politically toxic. Key bills with massive price tags are getting shelved.

Congress' core duty, exercising its power of the purse by passing a budget? Negative. A vote for it could be seen as a vote for deficit spending. There's no sign of the 12 annual spending bills that typically come up in June.

Five months out from the midterm elections, Democrats and Republicans say they have no choice but to draw lessons from the nominating contests and their own, increasingly vocal constituents.


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