Signs of hope in DC: Both parties are increasingly pushing for an end to the government shutdown and a debt-ceiling increase, with President Obama set to meet with 18 top House Republicans today, the Hill reports. Those Republicans include Paul Ryan, who's at the forefront of a short-term plan to reopen the government and raise the debt limit for several weeks, and then overhaul Medicare, Social Security, and the tax code, the New York Times reports. Mitch McConnell is quietly gauging support for a similar fix that would hinge on more modest policy moves, such as cutting ObamaCare's medical device tax and giving federal agencies more freedom in implementing the sequestration cuts, Politico reports.
Conservatives are under considerable pressure to cut some kind of deal, the Hill notes—yesterday, a Gallup poll found a 28% approval rating for the GOP, a record low for a party. The Hill, the Times, and Politico note that the fight over ObamaCare itself now seems to be taking a back seat, despite opposition from Tea Partiers:
- "There is a developing consensus that this is a lot bigger than an ObamaCare discussion," says GOP Rep. Jack Kingston. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch puts it more bluntly: "I’d like to get rid of ObamaCare, no question about that, but I think that effort has failed ... We’re going to have to take it on in other ways."
- Ryan and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor each published op-eds yesterday in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, respectively; the Post points out that while the pieces called on Obama to start negotiating, they don't list ObamaCare as part of the equation.
- "This is where we've been wanting to go all year long," Ryan told Roll Call. "We've always known the debt limit is the way to get a budget agreement." But he insisted that Republicans weren't totally abandoning their ObamaCare efforts. "We're bringing that to the table, too."