According to multiple analysts, the current budget stalemate in Washington appears to be caused by not just mistrust between Democrats and Republicans, but also by infighting within the GOP itself.
Richard Cowan and David Lawder, analysts for the news service, made a sharp insight into the current talks between House Speaker John Boehner (R) and President Barack Obama (D) following their Dec. 9 face-to-face meeting.
“But widespread credibility issues could cause problems for Democrat Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner if and when they have to sell any agreement they forge to their parties in Congress.
The task for Boehner, who met Sunday with Obama, may be greater because many Republicans distrust each other as well as the Democrats.”
White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told reporters Sunday that communication between Boehner and the president remains open, though she declined comment when asked what was discussed during the meeting. The current infighting within the GOP itself is believed to stem from admissions by not just Boehner, but Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham, and New York’s Peter King that tax hikes on the wealthy, once a forbidden fruit for party leaders, is now officially in play as a bargaining chip to avert the cliff.
According to the Huffington Post’s Amy Flaherty, many Republicans on Capitol Hill are unwilling to give even an inch on tax increases. Tennessee’s Bob Corker suggested that such hikes could be palatable to some Republicans if they were tied to deep cuts in entitlement spending. Other Republicans have echoed this sentiment as well, albeit reluctantly. The battle between the party’s leaders and its rank-and-file has created what some believe is a toxic environment for negotiations to avert the cliff. At least one analyst, Doug Schoen, sees the Republican Party’s infighting as poisonous to not just the process, but the party as a whole.
“It has been a wasted week. The Republicans are divided. And as the poll numbers suggest it very clearly, the Republican brand is weakening; they’re getting the blame. I believe they are trying to cobble together something to avoid going over the cliff. Boehner as asserted his control over a fractured caucus, Greg, and bottom line, it remains to see if they can get a better deal.” – Analyst Doug Schoen, speaking on Fox News Channel’s “Political Insiders.”
It is believed that the sudden willingness by Republican leaders to bend on this matter is why South Carolina’s other Republican senator, Jim DeMint, decided to resign from the Senate last week to take a position running the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. DeMint, considered the de-facto leader of the Tea Party in Congress, was vehemently opposed to any sort of tax hike as a means to reach a deal, and his resignation speech chastised the party for being out of ideas. Former Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-NY), appearing with Schoen on Fox, made comments alluding to the Tea Party’s fading influence not just in the current talks, but in the party itself.
“Republicans are in total disarray. Boehner has stepped in, he has fired four members of the House off their committees — conservatives, Tea Party people. The Tea Party is in descendancy in the House, since the election. Cantor is not in the room. Boehner, I believe, is trying to do the grand bargain because he thinks it will be the best thing. Not only for the country, but for the Republicans.” – Former Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-NY) on Fox News Channel’s “Political Insiders.”
According to Business Insider, a Dec. 2 Gallup Poll shows that while the president enjoys a 52 percent approval rating, Republican leaders in Congress only getting a 27 percent approval rating.