After listening to Vice President Joseph R. Biden address the House Democratic caucus for more than an hour Tuesday on the finer points of the fiscal cliff deal, retiring Rep. Norm Dicks suggested that President Obama’s notoriously loquacious No. 2 may have spent a little too much time bending members’ ears.
The Washington Democrat left the caucus meeting early, joking with reporters that the vice president was so longwinded that he “thought it was a filibuster.”
Mr. Biden has played the leading negotiating role over the past two days after Senate Republicans grew tired of trying to work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Sunday and weeks of negotiations between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner failed to produce an agreement.
Congressional leaders announced support for a deal to avert the fiscal cliff Monday night, and Senate Democrats passed the package early into the new year Tuesday morning.
Even though House Republicans Tuesday afternoon were balking, Senate Republicans and liberal Democrats were generally singing Mr. Biden’s praises Monday and Tuesday for leveraging trusted relationships forged over 36 years in the Senate to hash out a budget deal.
Rep. Danny Davis, Illinois Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black and Progressive caucuses, said he considered Mr. Biden’s role “his shining moment.”
“He didn’t seek it – it sought him,” Mr. Davis told reporters.
Others called Mr. Biden’s explanation of the deal during the caucus “helpful” and “impressive,” although some Democrats were still trying to decide whether they would support the final deal.
“The discussions that have gone on right now have been helpful, but I am still weighing what I’ve heard,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez, California Democrat.