Buoyed by economic growth and GOP stumbles, Obama claims upper hand in budget fight

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Bolstered by a spate of upbeat economic news, President Barack Obama is claiming the upper hand in the budget fight unfolding in Congress. He's aiming to exploit recent Republican stumbles to give Democrats an advantage — despite their status as a weakened minority.

The White House has been putting a spotlight on GOP infighting, arguing that Republicans who promised to govern effectively are falling down on the job since taking control of Congress earlier this year. And Obama has stood firmly behind his insistence that Republicans increase spending on domestic programs — not just the Pentagon.

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But while Obama retains full use of the bully pulpit, his leverage over matters of government spending may prove limited.