I believe we are supposed to take heart at the news that President Obama has called a Friday afternoon meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House in a last minute attempt to reach a deal that will save us from plunging off the fiscal cliff.
A meeting of the bickering minds of House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled for three o’clock Friday with the President.
However, if comments from Senators Thursday were any indication of the mood, it seems negotiations will continue to go nowhere fast as we approach the New Year.
“Reid accused Boehner of running a dictatorship, citing his refusal to call a vote on legislation to keep taxes steady for most while letting them rise at upper incomes,” reported AP. Reid added that Boehner seems “to care more about keeping his speakership than keeping the nation on a firm financial footing,”
McConnell took to the Senate floor Thursday and retorted, “Republicans aren’t about to write a blank check for anything the Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff.”
McConnell expressed his frustration, saying:
Republicans bent over backwards. We stepped way, way out of our comfort zone. We wanted an agreement. But we had no takers. The phone never rang. And so now, here we are, five days from the New Year, and we might finally start talking.
Democrats have had an entire year to put forward a balanced, bipartisan proposal. If they had something that fit the bill, I’m sure the Majority Leader would have been able to deliver the votes the President would have needed to pass it here in the Senate. And we wouldn’t be in this mess. But here we are, once again, at the end of the year staring at a crisis we should have dealt with months ago.
According to Breitbart.com, McConnell’s office also responded Thursday to reports that Obama had been “calling to receive updates about negotiations to avoid the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff.” His office said, actually, this was the “first time McConnell has heard from any Democrat, including the President, on this since Thanksgiving.” Zing.
It’s going to be an ugly, long weekend in Washington. Besides today’s meeting, the House has taken the unusual step of convening a Sunday session to avoid the fiscal cliff crisis.
Watch Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments here: