There is late breaking news on the ongoing government shutdown and the looming fight in Congress on raising the debt limit. Minutes ago CBS News reported that House Speaker John Boehner emerged to talk to reporters, during which he disclosed that he and the president are engaged in talks that would raise the debt limit temporarily until Nov. 17.
Boehner stated that the temporary measure would give him more time to negotiate a permanent agreement with the president on the national debt.
A CBS News reporter at the scene further stated that talks between Obama and Boehner include a path to end the partial government shutdown.
It is not clear as to what concessions, if any, Obama is expected to make in cutting such a deal, but Boehner made it clear that the president would have to offer at least something, the ideal of which would be an offer to meet House Republicans halfway.
*Late breaking update -- reports from several news sources indicate that Barack Obama has rejected Boehner's offer for a temporary extension of the debt ceiling until Nov. 17 so that negotiators will have enough time to present their cases. Obama stated he would not agree to any temporary measure.
Conservatives fear yet another sellout. Boehner and the House Republican leadership appear to be hyper-sensitive to polls and any perception that they are more to blame for the shutdown and the holdup of debt negotiations than Obama and the Democrats.
Some polls seem to indicate exactly that. According to Gallup, public approval of Congressional Republicans has plummeted 10 percent. Such figures scare the soup out of elitist leadership types such as Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy.
But the overall approval of Congress -- both Parties -- has plummeted to the lowest point in history. An AP poll found that only 5 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.
Further, Obama does not come out of this unscathed, either. That same AP poll cited above shows that public approval of Obama's handling of his job has plummeted to its lowest point yet -- only 37 percent. This is for a president who had a 70 percent approval rating during his first year in office.
Thus, the House Republican leadership had best look at the broad picture rather than going into a spell of hysterics over their low approval numbers. Obama is losing his approval from the public, so the Republicans thus far have been doing something right.
And if it is any concession to Boehner, the AP poll shows that the public disapproves of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nearly as much as it does Boehner. It is also not to be forgotten that when Americans say they disapprove of Congress, to the tune of 95 percent, they mean both houses of Congress, both the House and the Senate.
The Senate Democratic leadership, therefore, is just as vulnerable as the Republican-led House.
My latest entry is now posted on my blog in the popular series, Musings After Midnight, titled, "The Stealth War."
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