The Corner

Poor Kent Conrad

The Senate Budget Committee chairman seemed pretty pumped about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R., Va.) sudden exit from the deficit negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden, apparently thinking he was about to get called up to the big leagues: 

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Thursday that the current impasse at the Biden debt-limit talks may provide an opportunity for his bipartisan negotiating group.

Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman, said that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) exit from the Biden talks may mean that the Gang of Six – currently the “Five Guys,” since the departure of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) – may be able to “play a constructive role.”

He wasn’t the only one:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), another gang member, said Wednesday that the he wants the group to “come out of the closet” and reveal what they have been talking about.

But it wasn’t long before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) sneezed all over those strawberries:

With House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announcing he’s leaving the talks and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) demanding President Obama step in on the issue of taxes, Reid said only the senior leaders of the Senate and House can work out a deal with the president.

“I think that now with what Kyl and Cantor have done, it’s in the hands of the Speaker and the president and sadly, probably me,” Reid told reporters…

Reid shot down a notion floated moments earlier by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) that his group of five deficit negotiators could step up and play a leadership role. Conrad had said that he was preparing a two-step legislative proposal to deal with the debt-ceiling crisis and long-term debt problem…

“My honest feeling is that we are beyond gangs of five and gangs of sixes. The work they’ve done is extremely important,” Reid said.

Maybe next time, Kent. Oh, wait . . .

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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