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United States

Yearbook 2015

USA. The new Republican-dominated congress ended in a first power struggle with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which was supposed to go from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Both congressional chambers voted for the project, which met strong opposition from the environmental movement, but Obama vetoed in February. He had only used his veto twice before during his then six years as president. However, this would happen two more times during the year: against an attempt to stop new rules that would facilitate the formation of trade unions and against a proposal relating to defense spending under the federal budget.

2015 United StatesAccording to COUNTRYAAH, Obama had to express his frustration several times over having failed to tighten the country's gun laws. Particular disgust was aroused when a 21-year-old white man shot dead nine black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. The man stated after being arrested by police that he wanted to start a swift war. Supporters of tightened gun laws pointed out that most of the basically daily mass shootings in the United States were carried out with weapons legally procured. A strong arms lobby opposed all attempts to restrict the right to bear arms on the grounds that law-abiding citizens must be able to defend themselves.

2015 United States

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States, not just in individual states. Another ruling in the court meant that the healthcare reform "Obamacare" from 2010 survived yet another legal trial.

Many saw it as Obama's greatest foreign policy success to date when an agreement was signed in July aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The agreement, which was reached after years of unsuccessful negotiations and great mutual distrust, meant that Iran promised to limit its nuclear program and allow international inspections in exchange for relief in UN sanctions that severely hampered the country's trade and financial transactions. Republicans opposed the agreement but did not have enough dominance in Congress to stop it.

The US embassy in Havana and the Cuban in Washington reopened in July, and Obama thus fulfilled previously announced plans to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba that had been broken since 1961. In August, the president presented a new climate plan aimed at reducing emissions. of greenhouse gases in the United States by one-third by 2030, calculated from the 2005 level. Not least was the aim of a shift from coal power, which accounted for 39% of the country's electricity generation, to renewable energy such as wind and solar.

House Speaker John Boehner was under intense pressure from the Republican Party's uncompromising right wing, which was willing to force the federal government to suspend payments rather than succumb to any issue. In September, Boehner announced his intention to resign and leave Congress. The fact that the mission was heavy in the harsh political climate became clear when it took the party weeks before Paul Ryan was persuaded to be elected to the post.

After criticizing the US only receiving 1,500 refugees from the war in Syria, Obama promised in September that the country would receive 10,000 Syrians within a year. But increasingly strong anti-Muslim sentiment came to light, not least after a terrorist attack in Paris in November when jihadists murdered 130 people. Shortly thereafter, over half of the US 50 governors claimed that they would not allow any Syrians in their states - despite having little legal opportunity to influence it.

The tone was further stepped up after yet another mass shooting in December that came to be regarded as a terrorist act. It was a married couple who shot dead 14 people and injured about 20 at a Christmas party at a social center in San Bernardino, California. The couple, who in turn were killed by police, must have been inspired by jihadist terrorist organizations. After the act, real estate magnate Donald Trump, the Republican's leading presidential candidate, demanded a halt for all Muslims to enter the United States at all. The statement also attracted strong criticism in its own ranks for being both racist and unworkable. But opinion polls increased support for Trump, who has already made himself known for drastic statements and extreme suggestions.

Before the 2016 presidential election, Republicans had a wide starting field, which despite some jumpoffs still consisted of just over ten candidates by the end of the year. Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a clear head start. The only other Democratic candidate with a slightly greater impact was Vermont senator Bernie Sanders who enthusiastically embraced a grassroots movement with his leftist message.

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