In blow to democrats, US republics capture house, gain in senate
US President Barack Obama faced a bleak political landscape on Wednesday after voters punished Democrats over high unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery, delivering a divided Congress in Tuesday's midterm elections. Republicans pushed Democrats decisively from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened their ranks in the Senate, a result that could herald legislative gridlock when the new Congress takes power in January. Republican control of the House will weaken Obama in fights over the extension of income tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year and over efforts to pass comprehensive energy or immigration bills. "The ability of this administration to get major new programs done was already limited. This just seals the deal," said Jaret Seiberg, policy analyst with the investment advisory firm Washington Research Group. TV networks projected Republicans would pick up at least 60 House seats, more than the 39 they needed for a majority that would elevate conservative John Boehner to House speaker, put Republicans in charge of House committees, and slam the brakes on Obama's agenda. Obama made a late-night call to congratulate Boehner and discuss ways they could work together to create jobs and improve the economy, a Boehner aide said.