Numerous federal lawmakers expressed serious differences with the White House on a wide range of issues last week. That wouldn't be particularly newsworthy if they were Republicans.
But they were Democrats - and they appear no longer willing to reflexively back President Barack Obama's policy positions.
For instance, the administration's stubborn, protracted refusal to approve completion of the Keystone XL pipeline severely frustrates many congressional Democrats seeking re-election. The administration has failed to make a coherent case for stalling on the project, which by some estimates could create 20,000 American jobs.
The extreme environmental pitch against Keystone is that sending crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico via the pipeline would dangerously re-confirm U.S. long-term dependence on fossil fuels. But like it or not, we still need oil, and will continue to need it for many decades to come. And if we don't transport that crude to the Gulf, Canada will transport it to its West Coast and sell it to China.
High-ranking Democrats also appear increasingly reluctant to stick with the president in his support of embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shenseki. They understandably share most Americans' disgust over recent revelations about stunning deficiencies in VA health care on Secretary Shenseki's watch.
The president is also drawing intensifying resistance from fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill for his proposed tax hikes. Apparently they realize that with the labor-participation level near a historic low despite the drop in the jobless rate, a tax increase could further stall an already-sluggish recovery.
And Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was one of 51 senators who signed a letter sent Thursday to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker objecting to the agency's exemption of South Korea from a list of nations accused of "dumping" steel exports below cost.
That's a clear challenge to the administration's quest for "fast track" trade-deal authority - a bid also opposed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Even on the judicial-confirmation front, some prominent Democrats are going against the president on his nomination of Michael Boggs for a seat on the federal District Court in Georgia. They cite Mr. Boggs' support as a state lawmaker for anti-abortion measures, his opposition to same-sex marriage and his support for keeping an image of the Confederate flag in Georgia's state flag.
See, some Washington politicians really are to the left of President Obama.
Well, on a few issues.
And many members in both parties are upset about the president's penchant for bypassing Congress with executive edicts that are often constitutionally questionable.
The president has displayed a continuing inability - or is it a refusal? - to communicate more effectively with the legislative branch.
As Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said last week of an administration compromise aimed at winning GOP votes for Mr. Boggs' stalled confirmation: "This is a deal the White House made. They didn't discuss it with me. And nobody at the White House serves in the Senate."
Clearly, Republicans are no longer the only federal lawmakers finding fault with the administration.
And just as clearly, President Obama, after nearly 5½ years in the White House, finds himself increasingly at odds with Congress.
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