themcglynn.com

22 Jul

Harry Reid Angered By Obama Backdoor Negotiations With Boehner!

by Cugel

The O’Leary: Join the club, Reid. And stay angry,.

An angry Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “confronted White House budget director Jack Lew during a Thursday afternoon meeting about secret talks on a deficit-reduction deal between the president and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).”

Reid and other Democrats warned the administration officials in the meeting that they might not support a deal between Obama and Boehner if kept out of the loop.

In an extraordinary admission:

“It was a heated session,” said a senior Democratic senator who attended the lunch. “There’s a basic lack of trust with the president.” The lawmaker said the lack of trust stems from what they suspect are secret negotiations taking place between Obama and Boehner, without the input of Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).

Lew was somewhat evasive in his answer, leading some Democrats to conclude that Obama is conducting backchannel talks with Boehner.

 

Democrats were outraged about reports that Obama was willing to accept major spending cuts in exchange for reforming the tax code at some point in the future as part of a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

While it’s unclear whether this “deal” will surface in the final package, the Democratic suspicions are a clear indication that they think Obama is trying to ignore their concerns about cuts to entitlements in his efforts to secure his “grand bargain”:

The lawmaker said the lack of trust stems from what they suspect are secret negotiations taking place between Obama and Boehner, without the input of Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).“Harry’s not being included!” exclaimed the second senator.

Reid has told Democrats and Democratic allies that he did not have any of the details of a reported $3 trillion deficit-reduction deal coming together between Obama and Boehner.

In response to Reid’s question,

“I’m the Senate majority leader — why don’t I know about this deal?” Reid demanded as soon as the budget director walked into the . . .Room for a meeting with Senate Democrats, according to a lawmaker who witnessed the exchange.”

Lew was quick to deny that there was any “deal” “If there’s a deal, then the president doesn’t know about it, the vice president doesn’t know about it and I don’t know about it.”But the specifics of whether there’s a “deal” aside, its blindingly clear that the President is trying to force reluctant Congressional Democrats to accept a last minute deal that includes drastic cuts, and few if any revenue increases.

And he’s doing it by shutting Reid and Pelosi out of the negotiations. And he’s doing this because Boehner “complained” that there were “too many people” in the negotiating room:

Boehner complained in a television interview last week that the group of negotiators had grown too big.“The room’s too big,” Boehner told Fox News. “There are too many people in there trying to negotiate what is a very difficult — could be and will be a very difficult agreement. There are just too many people in there pouring cold water on virtually every idea that gets thrown on the table.”?Democratic aides said congressional leaders were told Wednesday night that Obama is prepared to cut a deal with Boehner that would include spending cuts and entitlement reform and only a promise from Republicans of taking up tax reform next year.

That might be a reasonable criticism IF Boehner was referring to recalcitrant House Republicans — but clearly what he’s doing is complaining that Democrats won’t do enough to screw seniors and the sick and elderly by agreeing to entitlement cuts  — without any corresponding tax increases or even the elimination of corporate tax loopholes (as much as these are window dressing anyway).

The question never seems to get asked: “How does it help seniors who have to pay more for Medicare if some corporation can’t take a deduction for corporate jet travel?”

So, what use is this entire discussion? Obama is just going farther and further in his efforts to get his “grand bargain” at all costs.

And more and more Congressional Democrats whom Obama will demand support this piece of crap are getting angry and desperate at their growing lack of input into the process. It’s amazing that Congressional leaders are completely shut out of what’s going on to the point when they have to petulantly remind the White House:

Senate Democrats told Lew and White House legislative affairs director Rob Nabors, who also attended the meeting, that they would not support a deficit-reduction deal that cut spending and entitlement programs and deferred the elimination of special corporate tax breaks to a later date.

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