- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Oh my God! Costco lists Bible as fiction, Ron Burgundy memoir as gospel
- Sarah Palin responds to Martin Bashir’s resignation, praises media
- Obama to send 2 Gitmo terror suspects back to Algeria
- Paul Walker secretly bought $9K wedding ring for Iraq vet
- Mystery sign poster hits Washington state town: ‘It’s OK to say Merry Christmas’
- Pope Francis forms commission to advise on sex abuse
- Anthony Weiner on radio? Cumulus says, ‘Never, ever’
- Executive order: Obama ups green-energy mandate on feds to 20 percent
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
Biden calls on friends in Senate in effort to jump-start ‘fiscal cliff’ solution
While President Obama’s No. 2 couldn’t prevent Washington from hurtling off the “fiscal cliff,” his deep ties to the Senate and trusted relationships with scores of Republicans may help engineer a softer landing later this week.
In fact, it was “Sheriff Joe” who came to the rescue when SenateGOP leaders were fed up with negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and months of discussions between Speaker John A. Boehner and the president had failed to produce a deal that could pass the House.
“Yesterday, after days of inaction, I came to the floor and noted we needed to act, but that I needed a dance partner,” Mr. McConnell said Monday in remarks on the Senate floor. “So I reached to the vice president in an effort to get things done.
“I’m happy to report that the effort has been a successful one and … we are very close to an agreement,” he added.
Late Monday afternoon, Republican senators were crediting Mr. Biden with negotiating in good faith and restarting serious talks.
“Things were completely stalled out until Sen. McConnell reached out to Biden and he stepped in,” said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican and chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. “It showed how fruitless and futile it was to continue dealing with the Senate majority leader.”
But Mr. Biden also got flack from liberal Democrats and outside pressure groups who said he should stick to the $250,000 income threshold that Mr. Obama had successfully campaigned on instead of agreeing to roll back taxes on households making $450,000 and below.
Late into New Year’s Eve, the late criticism from the left was still causing Mr. Biden headaches as he huddled with Senate Democrats to persuade them to declare victory on raising taxes and accept the higher threshold.
The meeting occurred just before Congressional leaders and the White House announced they had struck a final deal.
Even though the House was out of session and the country technically fell off the fiscal cliff, there’s still a little time left this week to prevent any serious damage. Congress can retroactively correct the tax hikes set to kick in Tuesday and also has one more day to stave off the automatic spending cuts that kick in Wednesday.
Mr. Biden’s political stock could soar after his role in striking such a critical bipartisan compromise, and in retrospect, could make his series of notorious first-term blunders and gaffes seem like small potatoes.
Cutting through the partisan rancor to get a deal could even boost his reported plans to seek his party’s nomination to succeed Mr. Obama in 2016.
“That D.C. insiders on a bipartisan basis think highly enough of Biden’s political talents and credibility that they want him involved at a time when the nation is perilously close to the fiscal cliff, that’s an impressive recognition,” said Joel Goldstein, a vice presidential scholar and a professor at St. Louis University School of Law. “This is truly a historic position for a vice president to be called upon to fulfill.”
When asked whether the vice president’s key role in jump-starting talks this week would improve his presidential prospects, Mr. Cardin said only that he would like to see the finer points of any debt-reduction package.
“We’ll have to see the details of the deal,” Mr. Cardin said.
When asked whether Mr. Biden’s last-minute role in the negotiations could strengthen a future White House bid, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and the longest-serving senator, said the vice president is focused on helping prevent an economic crisis for the country, not his political future.
“Knowing Joe, he’s more concerned right now about getting a deal for the American people,” Mr. Leahy said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
White House pets gone wild!