WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been largely absent in the squabbling over the “fiscal cliff,” took to the Senate floor Thursday to lament Washington’s budgetary procrastination, and lay the blame at the feet of Democrats.
McConnell claimed that Republicans had stepped “way, way out of our comfort zone” in pursuing compromises and was adamant that they “aren’t about to write a blank check for Senate Democrats moving forward,” no matter how close the deadline may be.
The Kentucky senator cast aside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s assertion that the Democratic-led plan, which passed the Senate earlier in the year, could succeed in the House.
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“He knows as well as I do that he himself is the reason that won’t happen,” McConnell said, deeming Democratic proposals as neither balanced nor bipartisan.
“There’s nothing for the House to vote on,” McConnell said.
The federal government will reach the fiscal cliff, about $500 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts, at the end of the year unless the president and Congress can agree on a plan to stop them.
“Hopefully there’s still time for an agreement of some kind,” McConnell said, as he concluded, not sounding particularly confident.
Reid followed McConnell on the floor, echoing his pointed remarks earlier Thursday, when he deemed House Speaker John A. Boehner’s leadership a “dictatorship.”
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“You can’t legislate with yourself,” the Nevada senator said. “We have no body to work with, to compromise.”
Reid wondered aloud if Boehner and McConnell were even communicating with each other, as he categorized Republican efforts, and specifically Boehner’s failed Plan B proposal, as “the debacle of all debacles.”
Boehner and the House announced Thursday that they will reconvene Sunday evening as President Obama continues private efforts with Republican and Democratic leaders to bring a resolution to negotiations before Washington drives over the cliff.
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