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Oct 1, 2011 9:41 AM by Kate Richards

Some say trouble in Congress, started long ago

WASHINGTON (AP) - People might be shocked that Congress can barely agree to keep government offices open, let alone tackle big problems confronting the country.

Veteran lawmakers and scholars use words like "unprecedented" to describe the current level of dysfunction and paralysis.

There's no single culprit, it seems.

At the heart of this congressional gridlock is a steadily growing partisanship. Couple that with a rising distaste for compromise by avid voters.

Die-hard conservatives and liberals dominate the two parties' nominating processes. That often means the election of lawmakers who pledge never to stray from their ideologies.

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