Republicans and Democrats neared a deal Monday to pay the federal government's bills for the next two weeks, which would prevent a government shutdown... for now. The agreement would let the GOP trim $4 billion from programs President Obama had already targeted for cuts. But this is only an interim solution. The government could still be left without a spending plan when this deal expires later in March. If that happens, which party should the public blame?
The GOP's refusal to budge is the problem: This short-term fix changes nothing, says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. Neither side really compromised. But at least "Democrats have shown some willingness to move to the right" by accepting cuts they don't like, "even if they are in Obama's budget." House Speaker John Boehner is making a true deal impossible by promising to cut an untenable $65 billion in hopes of "quieting a tea party revolt."
"A shutdown is still likely"
But Democrats might be saddled with the blame: The GOP took the heat for the government shutdown on Bill Clinton's watch, says Rob Port at Say Anything Blog. But it isn't 1995 any more. A poll by The Hill found that 29 percent of likely voters would blame Democrats for a shutdown, while 23 percent would blame Republicans. Forty-three percent would blame both parties. But in an atmosphere where "people very much view the government as having grown excessively large," the party "trying to shrink the government" is not the bad guy.
"Poll: Democrats would be more to blame for government shut down than Republicans"
A shutdown helps no one: If both parties know what's good for them, says Dan Amira at New York, they will "overcome ideological differences and sheer spite" and find a way to avert a shutdown. While more people fault Democrats than Republicans, a plurality "would blame both parties, so it's no good for anyone."
"Government shutdown probably not happening for now"