The Washington Times - December 29, 2012, 03:49PM

Is the post-“fiscal cliff” blame game already under way?

A couple of Capitol Hill’s more liberal lawmakers, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, took swipes at their Republican colleagues on Saturday.

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Ms. Bass said Republicans deserve most of the blame if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff — the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes due to take effect in 2013 unless lawmakers can forge a long-term budget deal.

“I do think it looks bad for both houses, for both parties. But at the end of the day, I’m sorry but I just don’t think it’s equal. Democrats don’t have a Grover Norquist that threatens the caucus if they even think about voting for taxes. And I do think that the U.S. public has seen the differences between the parties,” Ms. Bass said in an interview on MSNBC on Saturday.

On the same network, Mr. Sanders said: “Nobody wants to go over this cliff.”

But he said there is only one party to blame for the crisis.

“The problem that [House Speaker John] Boehner will have in the House is that his caucus is dominated by right-wing extremists.”

Mr. Sanders shrugged off the suggestion that both parties share responsibilities for the crisis.

“I am not a Democrat, I am an independent, but here’s the point: I don’t think they are … equivalent,” he said.

The fiscal cliff solution, he said “should not be a balance on the middle class and the rich. The wealthy and large corporations are going to have to help us in a significant way deal with deficit reduction.”

According to a Dec. 21 Wall Street Journal article, President Obama told Republicans he would use his upcoming inauguration address and his State of the Union speech to blame the GOP if talks fail.