Americans' ire for Congress grew after the debt ceiling compromise, a New York Times/CBS poll finds in a sharp warning for legislators as another battle brews over long-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. And that's just one issue among many that could mimic the debt debate theatrics.
A full three quarters of those polled this week said most members of Congress deserve to get the boot in 2012. Eighty-two percent disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job overall, up from 70 percent in late June, and just 14 percent approve. [Read Walsh: Congress reverts to its customary bickering and backbiting.]
Speaker of the House John Boehner also took a hit this year—a majority, 57 percent, now disapproves of his performance, compared to 41 percent in April, just after the government shutdown was narrowly averted. The change seems due to the increased public scrutiny he sustained during the debt ceiling debate, since the real change came from the "don't know/not applicable" category, which dropped by more than half, from 27 to 13 percent, during the same period. His approval rating only decreased from 32 to 30 percent. Familiarity does indeed breed contempt.
The new poll could be a preview for Congress as it prepares to engage in contentious negotiations over the FAA's funding in September. Seventy-two percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress handled the debt ceiling negotiations, and 66 percent disapprove of the way Democrats handled them. But the fighting over the FAA this week already seemed to echo the partisan blame game that drove many Americans crazy during the debt ceiling talks. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on air safety.]
After a two-week partial shutdown of the FAA that left 70,000 airport construction workers without jobs and 4,000 FAA employees furloughed, the Senate is expected to send President Obama a House-passed bill today that will provide six weeks' funding for the FAA—the 21st short-term measure since the last long-term funding bill expired in 2007—but leaves the real decision-making for September.