Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday offered an amendment to force a vote on President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was having none of it.
“Last week [Treasury] Secretary [Timothy] Geithner brought up a proposal that was so unserious,” McConnell said on the floor, “I would like to see if my Democratic friends would like to support it.”
McConnell suggested that the Senate vote on what he called the president’s “ridiculous” plan as an amendment to the Russian trade bill that is being considered.
Reid, however, objected to McConnell’s suggestion, saying the Russian trade bill, H.R. 6156, is about job creation, not political stunts from Republicans.
“The purpose of this bill is to protect American jobs,” Reid said. “Are we going to get serious here and legislate or is this more of the political stunts that the Republican leader is going to pull today?”
The majority leader's objection removes the amendment from consideration.
McConnell said he wasn’t surprised Democrats didn’t want to vote on Obama’s plan, which he said raises taxes on small businesses.
“Not a single Senate Democrat has stepped forward to support it, and if you look at it you can see why,” McConnell said. “It increases taxes.”
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, says expectations for a deal anytime soon are likely to prove overly optimistic.
"I didn't think this was case three weeks ago but do now think [President] Obama has decided to drive country over the fiscal cliff and blame the Republicans," Norquist tells me.
Furthermore, Norquist says the consensus view that the public posturing is just "theater" while real progress is happening behind closed doors is simply false.