Morning-after reality: Gridlock remains

Delayed decisions pack early agenda

  • President Barack Obama with first last Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden celebrate on stage at the election night party at McCormick Place, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama with first last Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden celebrate on stage at the election night party at McCormick Place, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • Supporters cheer at the end of President Barack Obama remarks during an election night party, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)Supporters cheer at the end of President Barack Obama remarks during an election night party, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
  • President Barack Obama supporters celebrate with champagne outside of the White House in Washington following his re-election early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)President Barack Obama supporters celebrate with champagne outside of the White House in Washington following his re-election early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
  • President Barack Obama , joined by  his wife Michelle, Vice President Joe Biden and his spouse  Jill acknowledge applause  after Obama delivered his victory speech to supporters gathered in Chicago early Wednesday Nov. 7 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)President Barack Obama , joined by his wife Michelle, Vice President Joe Biden and his spouse Jill acknowledge applause after Obama delivered his victory speech to supporters gathered in Chicago early Wednesday Nov. 7 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney embraces his running mate Paul Ryan as Romney's wife, Ann, and Ryan's wife, Janna, embrace Nov. 7, 2012, after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally in Boston. (Associated Press)Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney embraces his running mate Paul Ryan as Romney's wife, Ann, and Ryan's wife, Janna, embrace Nov. 7, 2012, after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally in Boston. (Associated Press)
  • President Barack Obama smiles after delivering his victory speech to supporters gathered in Chicago early Wednesday Nov. 7 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)President Barack Obama smiles after delivering his victory speech to supporters gathered in Chicago early Wednesday Nov. 7 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks off stage with his wife Ann Romney after he arrives gave his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks off stage with his wife Ann Romney after he arrives gave his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • President Barack Obama with first last Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden celebrate on stage at the election night party at McCormick Place, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama with first last Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden celebrate on stage at the election night party at McCormick Place, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • Standing with their families, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stands with his wife Ann, and Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., second right, stands with his wife Janna after Romney's concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)Standing with their families, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stands with his wife Ann, and Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., second right, stands with his wife Janna after Romney's concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • Volunteer Tyller Williamson, right, hugs Barbara Koh, Organizing for America California San Francisco department office manager, after projected returns of the presidential race were announced at the OFACSF Obama campaign volunteer office in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Volunteer Tyller Williamson, right, hugs Barbara Koh, Organizing for America California San Francisco department office manager, after projected returns of the presidential race were announced at the OFACSF Obama campaign volunteer office in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
  • President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden wave at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden wave at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • Confetti covers the stage after President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo) Confetti covers the stage after President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo)
  • Jon " Captain America" Angell salutes as Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney concedes the election to Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Minnesota Republican election headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Bloomington, Minn. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)Jon " Captain America" Angell salutes as Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney concedes the election to Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Minnesota Republican election headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Bloomington, Minn. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)
  • President Barack Obama and wife Michelle is holds hands with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill following Obama's victory speech to supporters in Chicago early Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)President Barack Obama and wife Michelle is holds hands with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill following Obama's victory speech to supporters in Chicago early Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks away from the podium after conceding the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks away from the podium after conceding the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool)
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gives a thumbs up as he arrives to give his concession speech during his election night rally in Boston on Nov. 7, 2012. (Associated Press)Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gives a thumbs up as he arrives to give his concession speech during his election night rally in Boston on Nov. 7, 2012. (Associated Press)
  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by first last Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha arrive at the election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama, accompanied by first last Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha arrive at the election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, left, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna, right, are joined by their families on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, left, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna, right, are joined by their families on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • President Barack Obama waves at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) President Barack Obama waves at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to speak at his campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston, after being defeated by President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool)Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to speak at his campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston, after being defeated by President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama smiles at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) President Barack Obama smiles at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • President Barack Obama waves at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) President Barack Obama waves at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
  • Supporters cheer as President Barack Obama speaks during an election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)Supporters cheer as President Barack Obama speaks during an election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
  • President Barack Obama hugs his family at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) President Barack Obama hugs his family at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  • President Barack Obama kisses his wife Michelle as he walks out to the stage at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) President Barack Obama kisses his wife Michelle as he walks out to the stage at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • A supporter cries as President Barack Obama speaks during an election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)A supporter cries as President Barack Obama speaks during an election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
  • President Obama smiles during his speech at his election night party on Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. The president defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (Associated Press)President Obama smiles during his speech at his election night party on Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. The president defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (Associated Press)
  • A supporter cries as President Barack Obama speaks during an election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)A supporter cries as President Barack Obama speaks during an election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
  • President Barack Obama smiles during his speech at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) President Barack Obama smiles during his speech at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  • President Barack Obama walks out of the stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) President Barack Obama walks out of the stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
  • President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • President Barack Obama hugs his wife Michelle and daughter Sasha as daughter Malia, left, looks on before speaking at his election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)President Barack Obama hugs his wife Michelle and daughter Sasha as daughter Malia, left, looks on before speaking at his election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
  • President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
  • President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
  • President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, left, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna, right, are joined by their families on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, left, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna, right, are joined by their families on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, center, are joined by their sons and their wives on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, center, are joined by their sons and their wives on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, wife Ann Romney, center, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., stand on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, wife Ann Romney, center, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., stand on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to give his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to give his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney,   his wife Ann Romney, left and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna wave to supporters on stage during Romney's election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, his wife Ann Romney, left and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna wave to supporters on stage during Romney's election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Megan Snedden, 26, of California, waves the American flag in Times Square to celebrate media outlets predicting President Barack Obama's reelection, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Megan Snedden, 26, of California, waves the American flag in Times Square to celebrate media outlets predicting President Barack Obama's reelection, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • Kelly Rodgers, 18, of Philadelphia, holds a sign saying "We Will Barack You" as people celebrate outside of the White House after President Barack Obama won re-election against Mitt Romney in the presidential election on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Kelly Rodgers, 18, of Philadelphia, holds a sign saying "We Will Barack You" as people celebrate outside of the White House after President Barack Obama won re-election against Mitt Romney in the presidential election on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • People celebrate outside of White House on Pennsylvania Avenue after President Barack Obama won re-election against Mitt Romney in the presidential election in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)People celebrate outside of White House on Pennsylvania Avenue after President Barack Obama won re-election against Mitt Romney in the presidential election in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  •  Dennis Eugene Hatton reacts while watching televised reports on the presidential election at an Obama watch party in Fort Myers, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)Dennis Eugene Hatton reacts while watching televised reports on the presidential election at an Obama watch party in Fort Myers, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraces Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as  Ann Romney and Janna Ryan embrace after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston.(AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraces Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as Ann Romney and Janna Ryan embrace after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston.(AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Supporters of President Barack Obama, including Tankia Inlaw, center, and Heather Alexa Woodfield, left, celebrate at New York State Democratic Headquarters following Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)Supporters of President Barack Obama, including Tankia Inlaw, center, and Heather Alexa Woodfield, left, celebrate at New York State Democratic Headquarters following Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
  • A supporter reacts to voting results displayed on a television screen during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A supporter reacts to voting results displayed on a television screen during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • A supporter cheers at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) A supporter cheers at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • Mitt Romney supporter and campaign volunteer Lynn Short, right, and a supporter who wished not to be identified, react as they watch presidential election returns at a GOP watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) Mitt Romney supporter and campaign volunteer Lynn Short, right, and a supporter who wished not to be identified, react as they watch presidential election returns at a GOP watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
  • President Barack Obama supporters react to returns during a rally at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)President Barack Obama supporters react to returns during a rally at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
  • Supporters of President Barack Obama react to favorable media projections at the McCormick Place during an election night watch party in Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)Supporters of President Barack Obama react to favorable media projections at the McCormick Place during an election night watch party in Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
  • Supporters of President Barack Obama react to favorable media projections at the McCormick Place during an election night watch party in Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)Supporters of President Barack Obama react to favorable media projections at the McCormick Place during an election night watch party in Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
  • Anita Flanigan, left, and Renee Drake react after President Obama reaches the 270 Electoral College votes during the Michigan Democratic election night party at the MGM Grand Detroit, following Election Day, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Anita Flanigan, left, and Renee Drake react after President Obama reaches the 270 Electoral College votes during the Michigan Democratic election night party at the MGM Grand Detroit, following Election Day, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • Supporters wait for returns during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Supporters wait for returns during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Supporters of Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney react while watching results on a video screen during his election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)Supporters of Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney react while watching results on a video screen during his election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • A supporter cheers at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) A supporter cheers at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
  • Sixteen-year-old Aly Hansen, from Amherst, N.H. watches vote results displayed on a television screen during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Sixteen-year-old Aly Hansen, from Amherst, N.H. watches vote results displayed on a television screen during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Former Democratic state Rep. Joyce Beatty, left, celebrates with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the Ohio Democratic party election night celebration  Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Beatty was elected in the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)Former Democratic state Rep. Joyce Beatty, left, celebrates with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the Ohio Democratic party election night celebration Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Beatty was elected in the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
  • Cean Orrett, 45, center, and Gareth Edmondson-Jones, 46, of San Diago, both recently married in New York, react to positive predictions for President Barack Obama as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Cean Orrett, 45, center, and Gareth Edmondson-Jones, 46, of San Diago, both recently married in New York, react to positive predictions for President Barack Obama as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A supporter watches the election results at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) A supporter watches the election results at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  • Supporters watch the election results on a big screen television at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Supporters watch the election results on a big screen television at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  • A supporter of President Barack Obama reacts to positive predictions for her candidate as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)A supporter of President Barack Obama reacts to positive predictions for her candidate as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
  • A spectator reacts to a change in the Florida early projections sen on a television during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A spectator reacts to a change in the Florida early projections sen on a television during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • People watch early election results displayed on a utility lift suspended from the front of the GE Building at Rockefeller Center New York, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)People watch early election results displayed on a utility lift suspended from the front of the GE Building at Rockefeller Center New York, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • People watch election results displayed on a utility lift suspended from the front of the GE Building at Rockefeller Center, in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. From center left are Bryan Fletcher of Park City, Utah; Jen Hudak, Salt Lake City; Lindsay Arnold, Park City; K.C. Oakley, Park City, and Emily Cook, Park City. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)People watch election results displayed on a utility lift suspended from the front of the GE Building at Rockefeller Center, in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. From center left are Bryan Fletcher of Park City, Utah; Jen Hudak, Salt Lake City; Lindsay Arnold, Park City; K.C. Oakley, Park City, and Emily Cook, Park City. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • Martha Nunez, 53, of the Bronx, reacts to positive predictions for President Barack Obama as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)Martha Nunez, 53, of the Bronx, reacts to positive predictions for President Barack Obama as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

From illegal immigrants to defense contractors and millionaires to Medicaid patients, Americans had plenty riding on Tuesday’s outcome — but few were expecting the election to provide answers to the gridlock that has prevented Washington from tackling the big issues.

The agenda is extensive and seemingly growing longer every week: Another trillion-dollar deficit is looming in 2013, debt has topped $16 trillion, the immigration system is broken, the tax code needs an overhaul, gas prices and unemployment remain stubbornly high, a final decision on the Keystone pipeline lingers, Iran’s nuclear program looms ever larger, and al Qaeda may be resurgent in parts of the Middle East.

Some problems won’t even wait for Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

The new year will usher in higher income taxes across the board as the George W. Bush-era tax cuts are due to expire Jan. 1.

One day later, the $110 billion in automatic spending “sequesters” set in motion by last year’s debt deal take effect, slashing equally from defense and domestic spending.

But an angry electorate begging for change did little to upset the balance of power in Washington, where gridlock has reigned and shows no signs of letting up.

“There are lots of things we have failed to do for a very long time, but that is not to say that we won’t fail to do them a bit longer,” said William A. Galston, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution.

President Obama and Mitt Romney both crisscrossed the country this year saying voters were choosing between vastly different solutions to the country’s problems. Both agreed that Mr. Obama’s approach involved more government while Mr. Romney’s solution was lower taxes.

“Paul [Ryan] and I have not promised you a bigger check from the government, and we haven’t promised to take from some people and redistribute to you — we’ve instead promised to rebuild the economy and to tame the growth of government and restore the principles that made America the greatest nation in the history of the earth,” Mr. Romney said Monday on the campaign trail.

For his part, Mr. Obama described the election as “not just a choice between two candidates or two parties — it is a choice between two different visions for America.”

But there was little chance voters were going to break what essentially has been a tie in American government over the past two years.

“At this point, there’s no more definitives in American politics,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “If Congress and the president have trouble dealing with the little things, there’s no way you can predict they will deal with the big things.”

One area where both sides in Washington have said they expect to see action next year is immigration.

Mr. Obama, who in 2008 pledged to make immigration reform a first-year priority, repeated that pledge this time. Mr. Romney, too, said the immigration system was calling for reform — particularly on the legal side, though he also said he would work on a permanent answer for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

“Immigration reform — it’s still the issue that keeps not working,” Mr. Zelizer said. “But there’s potential there because both parties see this huge electoral vote there and neither has been able to capture it, though Democrats seem to do better.”

He said there’s a realization in both parties that the status quo is not viable.

In the near term, young illegal immigrants were waiting to see whether they still would be able to get tentative legal status next year — something Mr. Obama enacted but Mr. Romney said he would halt.

Even as businesses and immigrant rights groups push for an immigration deal, though, there’s scant evidence that voters want to see action when the economy still dominates.

The problem for all sides is the math that says you can’t boost the economy and lower the deficit at the same time.

The Congressional Budget Office said allowing taxes to rise and spending to be cut — which current law calls for at the beginning of January — would put the budget back on track toward some stability. But it also would send the country careening into a double-dip recession.

Delaying those spending cuts and tax increases would boost the economy now but would mean an even deeper recession later.

Democrats and Republicans spent most of the past year arguing over different solutions to cancel the spending cuts, “they couldn’t find them before the election, so I don’t know how that works out,” said former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, who runs the Republican Main Street Partnership, the coalition of moderate lawmakers in the GOP.

Mr. Davis said Congress could let the deadline slip past Jan. 1 but would have to be quick to act early next year because otherwise “the genie is out of the bottle.”

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