House Republicans and Senate Democrats have just three days to finalize a deal before temporary funding for the federal government runs out and President Obama is quickly losing patience. Even though House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) blame each other for the negotiations’ impasse, the president understands all too clearly that they all have something to lose if government shuts down this weekend.
“I think what [the American public is] looking for from me is the same thing that they’re looking from Speaker Boehner and Harry Reid and everybody else, and that is that we act like grown-ups, and when we are in negotiations like this, that everybody gives a little bit, compromises a little bit in order to do the people's business,” the president told reporters during an impromptu visit to the daily press briefing.
A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that the American public is so far divided: 39% would blame the GOP; 36% would fault the Obama administration; and 16% would hold both accountable. But that could change if a shutdown actually occurred and its length. A couple of days may not matter, anything longer, and they’re all in trouble. African-American employees working at government agencies around the nation would be furloughed during a shutdown and it could take time to receive back pay once they’re back at work.
“Clearly the House Republicans have something to lose because it appears that their leadership is being held hostage by the Tea Party members who are demanding more cuts than Beohner originally called for,” said University of Louisville politial scientist Dewey Clayton. “Obama could be blamed for taking too long to appear more publically engaged in the negotiation process, which could also make him seem like a weak leader. No one will come out looking great.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), however, predicts that Republicans will absolutely be the biggest losers in the event of a shutdown.
“The public sees that the Tea Party is driving this driving this train. Democrats have inched closer and closer to the figure Boehner called for two months ago and the Republican leader has tried to give the impression that he wants to work something out, Cummings added, but “he’s being pulled further and further to the right by the tea partiers.”
(Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)