In bipartisan nod, GOP-led Mississippi Senate commends Obama

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 3:36 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Republican-led Mississippi Legislature has resisted much of President Barack Obama's agenda, but in an apparent bipartisan gesture of goodwill, the state Senate adopted a resolution Thursday calling the Democrat "one of the most consequential presidents in recent history."

The first African-American U.S. president "led the country through a serious economic crisis," ended the Iraq war and enacted health care reform, according to the resolution, sponsored by several Democrats who are members of the Legislative Black Caucus. "Barack Obama did indeed change the country's trajectory, by doing pretty much what he said he would."

Republicans hold three-fifths supermajority in the Mississippi House and Senate, and lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid under Obama's signature health care law. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and other top elected officials regularly complain about what they see as federal overreach by the Obama administration on a wide range of issues, including abortion rights and environmental regulation.

Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton, a Republican, brought the resolution up for a vote just as lawmakers were preparing to leave for the weekend. He said that "politics aside, party aside," only 44 people have served as president, and holding the office is an honor.

There was no debate.

No senator opposed the resolution, although Republican Michael Watson of Pascagoula voted "present," which counted neither for nor against. Some were absent, including at least two who had gone to Washington for Friday's presidential inauguration of Republican Donald Trump.

Mississippi legislators adopt hundreds of resolutions each year to commend a wide range of people and groups, including military veterans, longtime teachers and preachers, high school football teams and beauty pageant winners. Resolutions don't have to be signed by the governor, so Bryant — who campaigned for Trump and is attending the inauguration — can't block the one commending Obama.

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Online: Senate Concurrent Resolution 552: http://bit.ly/2iG8Ncz

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Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .