Politics: We Have Reached Breakpoint

The President and the Democrats square off over the budget

From the moment they recaptured the Senate last fall, Capitol Hill Democrats set out to prove they were not hopelessly divided and terminally ineffectual. They were determined to show that they could work together, make policy and lead the nation -- in short, that they deserved to take over the White House after 1988. They made a bravura start, quickly passing a clean-water bill over the President's veto and approving the $88 billion highway bill over another Reagan veto. The Republicans, shell-shocked by the midterm election loss and defensive over the Iran-contra affair, were reduced to the role of helpless spectators.

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