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Congress tied up in partisan knots over the most basic duty

[...] with the Capitol awash in election-year politics and shadowed by the contentious presidential race and engulfed in a fierce battle for control of the Senate, the simplest task became a nearly impossible heavy lift impeded by needless delays and bitter finger-pointing. Republicans, defending a fragile Senate majority and eager to get a handful of vulnerable incumbents back home to campaign for re-election, accused Minority Leader Harry Reid of holding up a deal to keep GOP lawmakers off the campaign trail.
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