The federal government appears to be hurtling towards a shutdown following the inability of congressional negotiators to reach a compromise last night on a continuing resolution. New polling finds that most Americans want their leaders to reach a negotiated agreement rather than stake out their respective positions. Polls from Gallup and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News find that self-identified Democrats and independents want leaders to compromise while self-identified Republicans would rather see the government shut down than compromise.
Last night, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) appeared on Fox News to explain his uncompromising position over funding the federal government. At one point, Pence appeared to let the truth slip out about the true aims of Republican negotiators, telling host Greta Van Susteren that what Republicans are trying to do is score a victory for “the Republican people.” Soon after realizing that he said that out loud, he backtracked, saying that he wants to score a victory for “the American people,” not the Republican Party:
PENCE: Well, I don’t know if we’re checkmating. But we’re trying — we’re trying to score a victory for the Republican people, for — for the American — for the Republican people — trying to score a victory for the American people, not for the Republican Party. That victory is going to come in stages here.
Yesterday, Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who is caught between the demands of Tea Party Republicans and the Republican establishment, said that if the government does shut down, that members of Congress should not be able to draw paychecks. “Members of Congress are elected by their constituents. If there is a government shutdown not only will Congress not be paid, but federal employees will not be paid,” he said.