Strained relationships between key Democratic and Republican negotiators pose significant hurdles to a bipartisan deal that would avert a government shutdown and a default on the nation’s debt obligations.
President Obama and Republicans have clashed repeatedly on many fiscal matters. But this fall’s showdown is more personal than prior battles. Trust and respect for the other side of the aisle have deteriorated to the point of being non-existent.
Ron Bonjean, a former aide to House and Senate Republican leaders, said, “In the high stakes of fiscal showdowns, leaders in Washington either don’t trust each other or don’t trust that they will be able to deliver the votes. This breaks down the negotiations into hyper partisan warfare and changes the focus from achieving a deal to ginning up base voters.”
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said, “We’re going to have disagreements, but they can’t be personal.”