House Republican leaders today ramped up their criticism of President Obama and Senate Democrats for — respectively — failing to lead and failing to produce a reasonable plan to cut spending.
“What we’re saying is ‘Come on, let’s see some leadership.’” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said following a morning GOP conference meeting. “We have put out there for the American people what it is we believe in. We have not seen the same from the Democrats.”
“We are ready to talk, we are ready to listen, we are ready to engage so that we can deliver on not shutting down the government and cut spending,” he added.
Cantor dismissed today’s votes in the Senate as all but meaningless. “[Then] we’ll have two numbers that will be taken off the table as far as what can’t work,” he said.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) echoed that frustration, asking “Not only where is the president, but where is the vice president?” noting that Vice President Joe Biden, the “main negotiator” for the White House, was currently out of the country. “If you ask the press secretary at the White House, ‘Well, who’s the lead negotiator with the vice president gone?’ [He] can’t tell you,” McCarthy said. “Who’s even going to have the negotiation? The Republicans have done their part . . . We’re not going to negotiate with ourselves.”
Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee is drafting a second short-term spending resolution to buy more time while a long-term measure is worked out (and before the current resolution expires on March 18). A House GOP aide tells NRO the measure being prepared will likely extend government funding for four weeks and cut spending by $8 billion — essentially a doubling of the previous short-term resolution — and contain none of the policy riders included in H.R. 1.