At last, like a light in the darkness, we are starting to hear whisperings of the possibility of debt limit negotiations.
Friday, GOP leaders met with President Obama to talk about raising the debt ceiling for six weeks This bill will include a short-term debt limit increase as well as a promise to go to conference, in exchange for a promise from Obama to discuss long-term deficit reduction solutions. Speaker Boehner (R-OH) also hopes the talks will include negotiations to end the government shutdown.
That’s right. There are no current plans to end the government shutdown, merely a promise to raise the debt ceiling for a short six weeks.
So who is happy about this? The short answer is almost no one. Conservative Republicans are upset because many have promised never to vote on a clean debt ceiling raise. The Democrats are unhappy because they do not think raising the debt ceiling for six weeks enough. They would prefer a long-term solution, possibly a year. Senator Reid (D-NV) said this six week raise was “never going to happen” but did promise to wait and see what the House does. For the Majority Leader, reopening the government with the clean continuing resolution is a top priority that he believes should be addressed with the raise of the debt limit.
As the shutdown drags, Republicans are beginning to appear more willing to negotiate. This is partly due to recent polling data that shows that only 28% of people view the Republican Party as favorable, the lowest number that has been reported since 1992.
They might not listen to their constituents, or party leaders, or the president, but all politicians listen to poll numbers. Let’s hope this is enough to motivate all sides to negotiate.