A befuddled Harry Reid (D., Nev.) threw a flash tantrum on the Senate floor just a while ago. He slammed the House Republicans’ latest effort to avoid a government shutdown — a one-week continuing resolution that cuts spending by $12 billion but also funds the Defense Department through September 30 to ensure that military personnel are paid even if the rest of the government shuts down — calling it a “fantasy” that will never make it past the president’s desk, and accused the GOP of “procrastinating” and “trying to avoid making the tough choices.
Coming from the leader of a Democratic-controlled Senate that could not pass a budget last year, even when Democrats still controlled the House, this line of criticism borders on delirious.
“It’s time for my friends in the House of Representatives to stop campaigning and start governing,” Reid continued.
Meanwhile, President Obama, who has finally decided to take part in the spending negotiations after a month and a half on the sidelines, was out of town all day… campaigning.
“We know the Republicans are afraid of the Tea Party, that’s been established,” he said.
At this point, he’s simply reading off an old script. Republicans are united behind the one-week measure, dubbed “The Troop Funding Bill.” Outside groups like Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Tea Party Patriots, and other that agitated so aggressively over the last short-term resolution have remained conspicuously silent. Even Tea Party favorite Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) is on board, because “the troops comes first.” But to Harry Reid, funding the military is just “another diversion.”
Reid’s tantrum, full text:
This budget that we have spent so much time talking about is really about making tough choices, hard choices, difficult choices. The American people understand this. They understand tough choices. They have to make them every day, especially now with the economy being in the shape it’s in; so should their representatives in Congress make tough choices.
We’re being honest with ourselves over here, Mr. President. We know that we can’t get 100% of what we want. That’s what this negotiation is all about. That’s why this is a negotiation. It’s not a winner take all. Democrats have made tough choices, because we want to get this agreement finished. We want it completed. We can’t keep the country running and keep the momentum of a economy that’s now creating jobs. We want to avoid a shutdown and the terrible consequences that would follow. The only thing Republicans are trying to avoid is making the tough choices that we need to make.
We have been more than reasonable, Mr. President, more than fair. We meet them halfway; they say no. We meet them more than halfway; they still say no. We meet them all the way; they still say no. If Republicans were serious about keeping the country running, all they would have to do is say yes. Now we learn that House Republicans are going to make another excuse, create another diversion, and avoid another tough choice. Instead of solving the crisis the way we should, instead of saying yes, they say in fact what they are going to do is pass what they will call another short-term stop-gap measure. They will say it is short term, but what that really means is it’s a shortcut, a short cut around doing our jobs. Instead of solving problems, they are stalling; they are procrastinating. That’s not just bad policy, it’s a fantasy. We all heard the president of the United States say yesterday that he won’t accept anything short of a full solution, and why should he? We’re six months into the fiscal year now.
President Obama is right. We can’t keep funding our great country with one stopgap after another. The United States of America, this great country of ours, shouldn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep talking and keep trying to find middle ground. The speaker and I will go back to the White House tonight, in two hours and two minutes. I will meet with him again and continue the conversation we have been having for weeks with this administration.
We know the Republicans are afraid of the tea party. That’s been established, Mr. President. Now it looks like they are also afraid of making the tough choices we have to make, but tough choices are what governing is all about. They are what leadership’s all about. It’s time for my friends in the House of Representatives to stop campaigning and start governing and remember what one of the greatest speakers of all time said — in fact, he was speaker three times — he was from the state of Kentucky, Henry Clay. He was known as the great compromiser, and he said that all legislation is based on mutual consensus. That’s what this is all about. But remember, let’s focus on the word mutual. It takes both of us. Mr. President, it’s time to lead.
Okay then. Lead already.