The U.S. government’s fan base is shrinking — and fast. Just 18 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way the country is being governed, down from last month’s 32 percent, recorded before the government shutdown, according to a new Gallup Poll.
The number is the lowest the polling agency has seen since it first started asking citizens whether they were satisfied with government in 1971. It edges out the previous low of 19 percent, recorded in September 2011, following a last-minute deal by lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling and save the nation from default. Before that, the lowest level of satisfaction with how the nation was governed clocked in at 26 percent, during the Watergate scandal in September 1973.
The new record reflects Americans’ thinning patience for the ongoing fiscal fights in Washington. This week, dysfunction on Capitol Hill surpassed the economy as what Americans viewed to be the country’s biggest problem. Public opinion of President Obama, as well as of Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, is worse this month than before the shutdown.
With one week left before the Treasury’s debt-ceiling deadline, these lawmakers have started to hustle. House Republicans are preparing a short-term plan to lift the debt ceiling for six weeks to protect the nation from default. Senate Democrats are voting this weekend on a bill to extend the limit until the end of the year. Both sides, however, will not meaningfully negotiate on a long-term deal until they open the government. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel: Even if the House’s six-week plan makes it through the Senate and to Obama’s desk, Washington will likely be embroiled in budget talks for weeks to come, testing its constituents’ patience even more.
The poll was conducted through telephone interviews between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6, with a random sample of 1,028, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
What We're Following See More »
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.