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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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October 9th, 2013
04:43 PM ET

Sen. Toomey: 'A grand bargain is quite unlikely'

A House Republican lawmaker tells CNN that the a new plan being discussed among House GOP entails one bill that would re-open the government, lift the debt ceiling, while also requiring some changes to safety net or “entitlement” programs and paving a way for tax reform legislation that the House Ways and Means Committee has been working on.

"I think a big grand bargain is quite unlikely," said Republican Senator Pat Toomey.

House Republicans tied the funding of the government to defunding or delaying Obamacare, effectively leading to the shutdown. There is now concern that lawmakers will fail to vote to raise the debt ceiling in less than ten days, at which time the U.S. will run out of cash to pay its bills, including interest it already owes debt holders.

Toomey blames the president for being unwilling to negotiate, calling President Barack Obama "unreasonable."

"I, for one, and many of my Republican colleagues would be very flexible about the many things we could do to begin to get on a sustainable fiscal path, but when you can't have a conversation with the president until he gets everything he wants, it's really hard to make progress," said Toomey.

The American public does not share Toomey's view of what has transpired in the last few weeks. The latest Gallup favorability numbers finds the Republican Party is down 10% since last month, and is now at a record low in the Gallup poll, 28%.

Asked just how low do the GOP's poll numbers have to go before the party realizes the American people does not approve of what Republicans in Congress are doing, Toomey deflected, pivoting instead to the president's and Democrats' approval ratings.

"I don't think the American people approve of what the president is doing, refusing to negotiate. I don't think they approve of what Senator Reid is doing by rejecting every Republican-passed bill," said Toomey.

House Republicans have tried and failed to pass targeted, piecemeal bills to reopen parts of the government in the short term, including national parks, claims processing at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.

For our full interview with Sen. Pat Toomey, watch the video above.

senator said Obama is to blame for being unwilling

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