USA. The new Republican-dominated congress ended in a first power struggle with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which was supposed to go from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Both congressional chambers voted for the project, which met strong opposition from the environmental movement, but Obama vetoed in February. He had only used his veto twice before during his then six years as president. However, this would happen two more times during the year: against an attempt to stop new rules that would facilitate the formation of trade unions and against a proposal relating to defense spending under the federal budget.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Washington, D. C. is the capital of United States which is located in North America. Obama had to express his frustration several times over having failed to tighten the country’s gun laws. Particular disgust was aroused when a 21-year-old white man shot dead nine black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. The man stated after being arrested by police that he wanted to start a swift war. Supporters of tightened gun laws pointed out that most of the basically daily mass shootings in the United States were carried out with weapons legally procured. A strong arms lobby opposed all attempts to restrict the right to bear arms on the grounds that law-abiding citizens must be able to defend themselves.
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In June, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States, not just in individual states. Another ruling in the court meant that the healthcare reform “Obamacare” from 2010 survived yet another legal trial.
Many saw it as Obama’s greatest foreign policy success to date when an agreement was signed in July aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The agreement, which was reached after years of unsuccessful negotiations and great mutual distrust, meant that Iran promised to limit its nuclear program and allow international inspections in exchange for relief in UN sanctions that severely hampered the country’s trade and financial transactions. Republicans opposed the agreement but did not have enough dominance in Congress to stop it.
The US embassy in Havana and the Cuban in Washington reopened in July, and Obama thus fulfilled previously announced plans to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba that had been broken since 1961. In August, the president presented a new climate plan aimed at reducing emissions. of greenhouse gases in the United States by one-third by 2030, calculated from the 2005 level. Not least was the aim of a shift from coal power, which accounted for 39% of the country’s electricity generation, to renewable energy such as wind and solar.
House Speaker John Boehner was under intense pressure from the Republican Party’s uncompromising right wing, which was willing to force the federal government to suspend payments rather than succumb to any issue. In September, Boehner announced his intention to resign and leave Congress. The fact that the mission was heavy in the harsh political climate became clear when it took the party weeks before Paul Ryan was persuaded to be elected to the post.
After criticizing the US only receiving 1,500 refugees from the war in Syria, Obama promised in September that the country would receive 10,000 Syrians within a year. But increasingly strong anti-Muslim sentiment came to light, not least after a terrorist attack in Paris in November when jihadists murdered 130 people. Shortly thereafter, over half of the US 50 governors claimed that they would not allow any Syrians in their states – despite having little legal opportunity to influence it.
The tone was further stepped up after yet another mass shooting in December that came to be regarded as a terrorist act. It was a married couple who shot dead 14 people and injured about 20 at a Christmas party at a social center in San Bernardino, California. The couple, who in turn were killed by police, must have been inspired by jihadist terrorist organizations. After the act, real estate magnate Donald Trump, the Republican’s leading presidential candidate, demanded a halt for all Muslims to enter the United States at all. The statement also attracted strong criticism in its own ranks for being both racist and unworkable. But opinion polls increased support for Trump, who has already made himself known for drastic statements and extreme suggestions.
Before the 2016 presidential election, Republicans had a wide starting field, which despite some jumpoffs still consisted of just over ten candidates by the end of the year. Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a clear head start. The only other Democratic candidate with a slightly greater impact was Vermont senator Bernie Sanders who enthusiastically embraced a grassroots movement with his leftist message.
The number of employees in the state administration has not increased much since the 1960’s. Still, the state has expanded its activities and significantly increased its influence. The large increase in the US state budget points in this direction. At the same time, there is a clear tendency for the bureaucrats to gain more and more power, while the bureaucracy is disintegrating and delegating this power to more and more expert hands. These experts often sit not in the state, but in research institutions, non-profit organizations, interest groups and local associations.
The power is drawn from the federal government’s own bodies and into a network of expert groups of experts. This development, along with the parties’ weak position in the political system, provides some of the key to understanding the special kind of organized lobbying that is run in the corridors of the US power elite in the capital, Washington DC
The increased influence of expert groups has led so-called “think tanks”, consulting firms, national and multinational corporations, law offices, interest groups and other pressure groups to move their headquarters to Washington, to the backdrop of the US political scene. During the 1970’s, the number of interest and lobby groups in “downtown Washington” grew to about 2,000 with a total of 50,000 employees. Many of these groups’ experts influence the decision-making processes of Congress and the White House.
A prerequisite for this influence is the great openness that, despite the concentration of power, prevails within the state administration. An important feature of this picture is the widespread use of hearings as part of Congressional proceedings. Interest groups and individuals are often invited to open hearings on matters that in the Nordic political system are only discussed in closed meetings. The hearings can also take the form of litigation, because those who give explanation are under oath. Despite the formal openness, however, “Tordenskold’s soldier experts” are largely allowed to present their opinions on consultation after consultation.
This link between interest groups, government and the National Assembly spins US politics into a case network made up of people with in-depth expertise in very specific areas. Furthermore, unlike “ordinary” experts, these individuals are political activists who speak on behalf of their group. They are advocates for a new health and social policy, for nature and environmental protection interests, or for expanding the US strategic nuclear missiles. They demand to be allowed to speak their mind on current issues, and they are often paid to give advice to both the Democratic and Republican parties, to Congress and the White House.
Each of the two major parties has a network of political experts attached to it. Top experts often get a seat in the state administration when their president is inducted into the White House. The fact that this is an elite and a lasting network is evident by the existence of a relatively constant core of experts who are always – regardless of party – drawn into the government or become advisers to the president.
The need for Congress and the President to administer this network means that the North American state bureaucracy is increasingly made up of specialists who know where “the right” experts are, what they do, what they do, and when they can be used as consultants, case investigators or witnesses in hearings. About two-fifths of the middle layers of the North American bureaucracy – US grades 16-18 – have an education as scientists, but play the role of technocrats: as science managers. The old-fashioned all-round politician is not necessarily on his way out of politics in the United States, but he is becoming more and more dependent on experts and specialist advisers.
Since the 1960’s, environmental protection and consumer organizations have been trying to increase their influence in the US case network – but without much success. They have therefore also focused on other measures, such as going to court against producers of questionable goods, organizing boycotts of goods and sending complaints and appeals to the press, politicians and the president. But they face enormous tasks: the North American Chamber of Commerce, which the consumer movement for example. works in relation to, has 80,000 companies as members, 1,200 employees across the United States and an annual budget of many hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ralph Nader has been a central figure in the US consumer movement since the 1960’s. In the book “Unsafe at any speed” – Unsafe at all speeds – he demonstrated how the North American auto industry had sold cars with a weak or outright dangerous construction. The manufacturers’ profitability meant that they deliberately failed to improve the cars, Nader wrote. The book was the start of a consumer movement that has branched out since the mid-1960’s.
One of Nader’s later organizations, for example. “Congresswatch”, which follows what Congress is doing to resist consumer-hostile actions. Another Nadder group is the Clean Water Action Project, which combats the development and pollution of North American rivers and water bodies.