Obama has taken a firm line, saying he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling while remaining open to talks about budget and spending issues. But Republicans want dollar-for-dollar spending cuts to offset any increase in the borrowing limit, and many in the party advocate ending or delaying implementation of the president’s signature Affordable Care Act, as well.
Obama issued a stern warning to Republicans on Monday about talk of shutting down much of the government rather than funding the health-care act and of blocking an increase in the government’s borrowing authority.
That, he said, would cause “massive economic turmoil.” Not raising the borrowing limit would subject the government to defaulting on its obligations and could harm the country’s credit rating.
For now, the two sides appear dug in. House GOP leaders Wednesday announced plans for a Friday vote on a government funding bill that will include a rider to block funding for the health-care law.
The Post-ABC poll found that neither Obama nor congressional Republicans are seen by the public as sufficiently willing to make compromises with the other. But Americans view Republicans as significantly more inflexible than the president.
Forty-nine percent of those surveyed say Obama is doing too little to compromise with Republicans, but 64 percent say Republicans are doing too little. Only about a fifth say Republicans are doing about the right amount to find common ground with the president, compared with just over a third who say Obama is doing about enough.
Two years ago, Obama and the Republicans spent months trying to reach a budget agreement as part of larger negotiations over raising the debt ceiling. Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) tried and failed to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget and some entitlement programs, and have spent the past two years blaming each other for the breakdown.
The collapse of those talks and the subsequent messy compromise that allowed the government’s borrowing power to rise turned out to be a political debacle that affected the standing of the Republicans and the president.
It also resulted in the downgrading of the government’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, which cited political dysfunction as a principal reason for its decision. Consumer confidence plunged in the aftermath of that episode and sent Obama’s and Republicans’ job ratings plunging to record lows.