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Congress, Partisanship & Paralysis

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP)

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Here’s a scary sense that grips a lot of the nation and, we’re told, a lot of the world: the United States has become dysfunctional at fixing problems just when everything needs to be repaired. Health care, energy policy, infrastructure, education, banking — you name it.

Fingers can point at a lot of reasons for paralysis. Many are pointed at Congress.

It’s got hyper-partisan politics, big money interests all over, a 60-vote bar to clear in the Senate, and a load of dangerous gridlock.

This hour, On Point: Where’s Congress when we need it?

Guests:

Joining us from Washington is Thomas Mann, Congressional scholar and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is co-author, with Norman Ornstein, of “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track.”

Joining us from Williamsburg, Va., is Larry Evans, professor of government at the College of William and Mary. From 1991 to 1993 he worked in the office of Rep. Lee H. Hamilton and on a bipartisan Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. He’s at work on a book about partisan coalition building on Capitol Hill.

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Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

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WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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