Legislation on issues such as immigration, gun control, taxes and deficit reduction remains stalled on Capitol Hill because of deep ideological differences between congressional Republicans and the Democratic Obama administration. Hopes that lawmakers and Obama could reach a compromise on some issues grew dimmer this spring amid a series of controversies that engulfed the White House: a 2012 terrorist attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya; the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of requests for tax exempt status by conservative political groups; a Justice Department secret subpoena of reporters’ phone records, and disclosure of a secret electronic surveillance program run by the National Security Agency. The 112th Congress, which adjourned in January, enacted the fewest laws in modern history, and the current Congress failed to reach a budget deal to avoid across-the-board spending cuts.

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