The Ticket

GOP’s image takes a hit in the debt ceiling fight

Holly Bailey, Yahoo News
The Ticket

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(Photo of Boehner and Obama: Charles Dharapak/AP)

Are Republicans facing a serious political risk in rejecting President Obama's call for a sweeping plan to deal with the nation's debt crisis?

With the deadline swiftly approaching to come up with an agreement that would raise the $14.3 trillion ceiling, a new CBS News poll finds Republicans losing the battle for public opinion in the debate, with 71 percent of Americans casting their disapproval of the GOP's handling of the crisis.

Perhaps most notable: Fifty-one percent of Republicans in the survey say they disapprove of how their party leaders in Washington are handling the debt negotiations.

However, the poll also shows that there's plenty of blame to go around. While Republicans seem to be paying a higher price, Americans don't seem to be happy with how anyone in Washington has dealt with the crisis. The CBS survey finds 58 percent of Americans disapprove of how congressional Democrats have handled the debate. Meanwhile, 48 percent reject President Obama's handling of the crisis.

Meanwhile, a USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday found that two-thirds of Americans believe both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are putting their own political interests ahead of the country's best interest. Half of those surveyed believe both Obama and Congress are doing a worse job than their predecessors had in handling the economy.

Two-thirds of those polled want to see a compromise on the debt situation, while just 27 percent want lawmakers to hold out for the plan they want, even if it means an increase to the debt ceiling isn't approved.

The numbers are certain to make Republicans even more nervous as party officials struggle to come up with an agreement that can gain widespread support among GOP lawmakers.

House Republicans are set to bring up a "cut, cap and balance" measure on the floor Tuesday. The bill would raise the debt ceiling but would also slash more than $110 billion from the 2012 fiscal year budget and cap future spending. President Obama has said he would veto the measure--a position the White House reiterated today, claiming the law, if enacted, would "undercut" the government's ability to meet its obligations and would "deal a severe blow" to the already struggling economy.

But that veto threat is likely moot, since the legislation is expected to pass the GOP-controlled House but not the Democratic-controlled Senate.

There are new signs that the GOP is working toward a compromise. In addition to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's back-up plan, which would give Obama the right to raise the debt ceiling on his own, ABC News reports that House Speaker John Boehner is still trying to negotiate a compromise bill with the White House to tackle long-term deficit problems while also raising the debt ceiling.

On Sunday, Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met with Obama at the White House--a meeting that had not been previously announced. Asked about the talks today, Obama said the two sides are "making progress."

The White House has said it would like to have a debt-ceiling deal in place by July 22. The date would give Congress enough time to debate and pass potential legislation ahead of Aug. 2, the date Treasury officials have said the United States will begin to default on its debts.

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