More than two-thirds, 68 percent, do not think Obama and Congress could reach a budget deal before government funding runs out in mid-January, despite reports that a congressional agreement could come this week. They’re also not optimistic lawmakers can succeed in getting a deal approved.
“This is a very grumpy country right now,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York.
The public pessimism, said Miringoff, reflects months of growing dissatisfaction with Washington. 2013 has been a year of constant budget brinkmanship, most notably the Oct. 1-16 partial government shutdown.
“The numbers go to their broken trust,” Miringoff said of the public.
And your evening chaser:
The budget deal Patty Murray and Paul Ryan are crafting isn't a "grand bargain." It doesn't put the nation's finances on a vastly different path (or even any different path). It doesn't reform the tax code or overhaul Medicare. It doesn't include infrastructure spending or chained-CPI. It doesn't even replace all of sequestration.
But the deal does lift about a third of sequestration's cuts while giving agencies more flexibility to deal with the rest. It does mean the 2014 budget is the work of human hands rather than automatic cuts. It might be a vehicle for Capitol Hill to extend expiring unemployment benefits. And it would be a small but real boost to the economy.
Joel Prakken of Macroeconomic Advisors says the deal "would be a modest boost to GDP growth (relative to sequester). Maybe 1/4 percentage point." Moody's Mark Zandi adds in the possibility of extending unemployment insurance and estimates that "the lift to GDP next year compared to current law is .4. Small, but it matters."
Politically, the deal is a signal that the age of grand bargains is over. Republicans and Democrats recognize that they can't come to a big agreement. What we don't know is if the age of mini-deals has yet begun. This deal could well fail before it's unveiled before Congress. It could well fail in the House of Representatives, where Democrats are pushing for an extension of unemployment benefits and conservative Republicans say they prefer sequestration.
In the age of "oppose Obama forever" this is the best we can hope for.