The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to reports today that President Barack Obama called him and other congressional leaders to receive updates about negotiations to avoid the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” by noting that it was the “first time McConnell has heard from any Democrat, including the President, on this since Thanksgiving.”
The President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made a show of returning to Washington this week, as if to continue negotiations–when their open opposition to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s “Plan B” last week helped doom that plan to defeat in the Republican caucus. House members were reluctant to vote for “Plan B” to begin with, since it would have raised some tax rates; the certainty that it would fail in the Senate made them even less enthusiastic.
Reid took to the floor of the Senate today to accuse Boehner of running a “dictatorship” in the House, poisoning the prospect of a bipartisan deal even further.
Prior to the failure of “Plan B,” House Republicans had offered several plans, starting with Boehner’s plan to raise $800 billion in revenues without raising tax rates. All were rejected by the White House and the Senate–which has not even passed a budget for three successive years, contrary to federal law.
While the President and the Senate leadership engage in a good cop-bad cop charade, the likely reality is that they have calculated that the “fiscal cliff” is bound to take place (and perhaps even suits their interests), and their sole focus is to convince the public that Republicans are to blame.
Given that President Obama’s call to McConnell was the first he had received in over a month from any Democrat on the issue, it is probably that going over the “fiscal cliff” was the President’s intent from the start.
Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro contributed to this report.