January 22nd, 2009
11:00 AM ET
4 years ago

Crowley: Balance of power trying to find balance

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have made it clear that they don't agree with President Obama on everything.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have made it clear that they don't agree with President Obama on everything.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrats hold a strong majority in Congress, but with power comes a power struggle, and a potential headache for President Obama.

Just two days into his term, the president is already facing pushback from leaders of his own party.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have made it clear - it's not their job to answer to Obama.

To a certain degree, the president-Congress tension is simply politics at play - something that happens every time a new president comes in.

But this time, the Democrats have even more power than they did before the election, meaning Pelosi and Reid both have huge majorities in their respective Houses.

Pelosi's biggest problem with the president's agenda is the silence she's hearing when President Obama is asked about former President Bush's tax cuts.

Full story

Filed under: Congress • Harry Reid • House Democrats • Nancy Pelosi • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Louise in North Carolina

    Congress has a majority of Democrats because they rode in on Obama's coat tails, Not REID and PELOSI's influence!!!! He is the only one who made it happen. They never came to his defense when John McCain's camp was showing all those ugly ads. THEY NEED OBAMA, He does not need them!!

    January 22, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Suzi

    To Pelosie, Reid for this article and I'll add Cornyn for his grandstanding about Clinton's confirmation. No, you are not expected to agree with everything Obama says or wants, BUT you are expected to act like adults and if you have disagreements, they should be on legitimate issues.

    What you are doing now looks like grandstanding to prove you have power - and the only power you are showing is to be negative and drag your heels.

    We have a economic Hurricane Katrina on the radar screen and you are playing around as if it is politics as usual.

    Grow the heck up and get in line as a responsible member of this country and of the legislative branch. If you have legitimate issues, fine, discuss and work it out. If not, shut up.

    January 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Matt

    Duh...they can't be seen to be in cahoots on everything. For one thing, their constituencies have their own interests they are charged with protecting. For another, if they all jumped on the Obama bandwagon the Republicans would gain leverage because they could then argue that the checks and balances are under threat...just like they tried to scare people into thinking during the election campaigns. Lastly, note that the particular issues about which they are choosing to disagree with Obama are somewhat petty. The elimination of a tax-cut during an economic crisis? Pelosi knows that's dumb, but she's safe in arguing for it because it won't happen and it makes Obama look like he's being responsible to tell her to wait. This is all a clear case of smartly picking their battles.

    January 22, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Angie in Pa

    What a bunch of Children in Washington! Democrats and Republicans did you not hear you President on Jan 20 2009 Enough is enough with the chidish pettiness on both sides get your acts together grow up work with the President and fix this country!!! BOTH PARTIES GROW UP!

    January 22, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. believe

    pelosi and reid like the sound of their own horn, they need to join up with limbaugh, they are about as well liked.

    January 22, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Rick in WA

    Come on, CNN. Stop making it look like Democrats can't all get along now that they have total control of our Federal government.

    January 22, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Candido

    I agree with House Speaker Pelosi. Anyone making more than $250,000 per year can certainly afford to pay the taxes at the rate they paid during the Clinton years. The economy ran alot smoother in those days.
    I'm sure Oprah, Judge Judy, Alex Rodriguez and Seinfeld won't miss a meal as a result.

    January 22, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Greed is not good

    Get out of the way and let Obama take charge!

    January 22, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. ELLE


    January 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. MCD, SF, CA

    The People are behind Obama... The People want to give him a chance to fix the mess we are in... The People are extremely fed up with Congress (on BOTH sides of the aisle). It is time that congress earns their pay and the fantastic retirement benefits they will receive in the future, especially since some people have either lost all or some of their retirement funds. Congress would be very wise at this time to listen to what The People & Obama want.

    January 22, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Craig

    I suggest Pelosi & Reid reflect on the likelyhood that Pres. Obama was NOT elected because he is a Democrat...he was elected because he is Barack Obama, and because the American voters want real change.

    Picking unnecessary fights with Republicans and creating distractions from the job at hand are not change. I do not believe the American public will long tolerate this kind of subversion of the will of the people.

    The same grass roots organization that helped elect Pres. Obama can and will be used to turn out those who refuse to change .

    January 22, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Roger

    As a life long democrat & a Obama supporter I am sure that both Reid & Pelosi are smart enough to know that the PREZ has 80% approval rating to their 15% & if push comes to shove they will see it is what the people want that matters & it would not take much to send them both packing by the citizens of NV &CA. People are tired of elected officials acting selfish & as though they have more POWER than the people who put them in office.

    January 22, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Jeanne

    I just hope that Pelosi and Reid haven't been in politics so long that they have lost perspective on what it means to be a public servant. I understand Pelosi's firm stance on rolling back Bush's tax cuts–but I hope that she can refrain from seeming adversarial or obstinate when in comes to communicating with our new president.

    Honestly, though, I wish we had fresh, energetic congressional leadership that was ready to swiftly move forward.

    January 22, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Ann

    It is shame that these senetors are behaving like nuts, President just started his work and trying to fix economy and these old people are having fun by troubling him. Harry and Pelosi, you both got to learn to behave.

    January 22, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. Ann

    @Candido, these taxe are not just for Oprah, Judge Judy, Alex Rodriguez and Seinfeld, these tax increase effect all those small companies who are not closed and still trying to keep up their business and their employees. Obama dont want them to struggle in this economy.

    January 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Annette

    Honestly, everybody need to calm down and let the President think. It makes no sense at all for Pelosi or Reid to hurry the President response on the Bush taxes. One issue at a time, Speaker. It's expedient that he deal with issues that are easy enough to deliver such as executive orders. Our new President is a systematic thinker, and by now, everybody should know that he does not like to be push into decisions that requre thought. Chill Speaker and all the rest.

    January 22, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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