Republicans and Democrats at Negotiating Table on Debt Ceiling

Pain of shutdown, fear of default force both parties to hammer out a deal.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, listens during a news conference on Oct. 10, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
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President Barack Obama and House Republicans sought a solution throughout the night to end the country's government shutdown and raise the nation's debt ceiling.

No deal had been reached by Friday morning, but top aides said progress had been made. 

"No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conversation," a statement from the office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said following the initial Thursday meeting. "The President and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night. House Republicans remain committed to good faith negotiations with the president, and we are pleased there was an opportunity to sit down and begin a constructive dialogue."

[READ: Walsh: A Glimmer of Hope as Obama, GOP Talk

Time is of the essence, however, for the nation and the GOP's fragile brand. 

 

In less than one week, on Oct. 17, Congress will need to increase the nation's borrowing limit to stave off a default. And the support for the GOP's political tactics is waning. 

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday night showed 53 percent of Americans were blaming Republicans while just 31 percent thought the president was responsible for the fiscal impasse. The numbers showed an even more dire political situation for Republicans than the shutdowns of 1995 and 1996. The same poll conducted in 1996 found that 44 percent of the American people blamed Republicans in Congress and 33 percent blamed President Bill Clinton. 

Today, just 21 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the tea party, the conservative wing of the GOP that led the charge to dismantle, defund or delay Obamacare, even if that meant shutting down the government to keep the fight brewing.

[READ: Shutdown Could Give Democrats the House Back

Among the plans being debated at the White House this morning is the one brought forward by Boehner Thursday morning that would temporarily increase the debt ceiling for six weeks, giving the Republicans and Democrats more time to negotiate a broader deficit reduction plan that included a mix of tax cuts and reforms to entitlement programs.

However, the GOP plan would keep the government closed, something Democrats said they would like to see reopened as soon as possible. Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Calif., were cool on the plan, saying that a longer-term debt ceiling would be preferred over a shorter-term solution. 

"I think we should go at least one year so that there is some certainty in the markets and that every six weeks people don't have to wonder if the United States of America is going to stand by its full faith and credit," Pelosi said about raising the debt ceiling. 

The federal government now enters its 11th day of being shut down, which means thousands of government workers remain locked off the job, most research at the National Institute of Health has been suspended, farmers are not able to deposit USDA checks during their fall harvest, national parks remain closed, among other things.

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