Why Washington gridlock persists

- Is a political majority actually an advantage in Washington? With Democrats in full resistance mode, Republicans still control both Congress and the White House but have yet to pass any major legislation.

The Republicans' inability to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has made it very difficult to move on to other big-ticket items on their agenda. At the heart of this is the rift within the GOP and a huge divide between Democrats and Republicans. While bipartisanship now seems like a long way off history tells us it is not impossible.

President Abraham Lincoln's team of rivals and the 1964 Civil Rights Act signed by Lyndon Johnson are part of the history of major achievements in the United States with bipartisan support.

In 1969 the United States beat Russia to the moon 11 years after Congress urged President Eisenhower.

In the 1980s, President Ronald Regan signed massive tax reform finding common ground with a Democratic House and Republican Senate.

President Bill Clinton also found success. In 1996, with a bitterly divided government, Clinton signed into law sweeping welfare reform.

But by 2009, the political landscape shifted. President Obama found little help across the aisle. He passed his signature Affordable Care Act in his first term while Democrats still controlled all branches of government.

Dean of Baruch College Public and International Affairs David Birdsell says the difference now is that Republicans rule the House, Senate, and Executive Branch but extreme voices within the GOP make passing laws more difficult.

This is clearly frustrating President Trump who is still looking for his first major legislative victory. Earlier, the president suggested scrapping rules requiring 60 votes in the Senate in favor of a simple majority. That would change the face of government, but it certainly wouldn't help attract Democrats to any future proposals.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former Republican presidential candidate, called the current partisan standstill simply "unsustainable." 

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