Fractures forming: Are Congressional Republicans about to cave on a fiscal cliff deal?

Declaring that everything is "on the table," a group of Republicans from the party's moderate and conservative wings are urging their colleagues to put their ideologies aside in order to find a solution to the "fiscal cliff."

According to media reports, the behind-the-scenes picture is become increasingly erratic, as Congressional Republican leaders rebuff efforts from both their own conference and conservative leaders outside of Washington, D.C. There are two major forces behind the friction: a greater willingness to compromise with President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies, and the fact that Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio appears to be losing control over his Tea Party-infused caucus.

As a result, some prominent Republicans have come out of the woodwork to try and defuse the situation, including former U.S. Senator and one-time Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg. Describing the situation as a "fork in the road," Gregg advocated that the two sides "work out a deal," leaving out any reference of yielding to the Obama administration's demands for tax hikes and the unilateral power to extend the debt ceiling as often as they choose.

Another disconcerting fact for Congressional Republicans is the fact that, according to a new Quinnipiac poll, the president's approval rating has risen to roughly 53 percent. While not definitive, it suggests that Americans are seeing President Obama's leadership as a positive force whereas the current Gallup polling of Congress has about 18 percent of respondents replying favorably.

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