Even before Barack Obama scolded Congress yesterday for planning a recess in the middle of a debt crisis, Republicans had pressed Harry Reid to keep the Senate in session over the scheduled July 4 recess. Sen. Ron Johnson had announced earlier in the week that he would block any other business from the Senate floor until the Democratic majority finally produced a budget, and Sen. Jeff Sessions warned that he would rally all 47 Republicans to block an adjournment — which would have forced Democrats to vote in lockstep to leave Capitol Hill with their budgetary work still incomplete.
Reid finally surrendered to reality this morning:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday morning that he will cancel the July 4 recess so that lawmakers can continue to focus on deficit-reduction negotiations. …
“There’s still so much to do to put Americans back to work, to cut our deficit and [get] our economy back to work,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “It is really important that we do this. That moment is too important, the obstacle is too steep and the time too short to waste even a moment.”
It’s now Day 792 in the budget-less Reid Senate, so this realization comes just a wee bit late for any credit. Reid didn’t act until he was completely isolated on the issue, under attack from both parties for his lack of action on the primary business for Congress. Democratic leadership in the Senate has been an utter failure, and this is Reid’s attempt to pretend like it doesn’t reflect on him personally.
Good luck with that.
Meanwhile, Obama’s odd scolding has some people steamed:
“Leaders are going to lead, … that’s why they are called leaders,” he added, making an unmistakable reference to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who withdrew from the negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden last week.
Those cracks, along with Obama’s tart suggestion that Congress scrap its cherished July Fourth vacation, do nothing to endear him to GOP House leaders who have balked at his calls to accept tax hikes on the rich.
“It’s time for the president to stop lecturing and start doing his job,” responded Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring.
Another GOP aide was more blunt. “It’s counterproductive schoolyard crap. … [It’s] awfully childish for the ‘adult in the room,’” the aide told POLITICO.
A better point to make is why Obama has been silent about the 792 days Reid has gone without producing a budget. If leaders lead, then where is Reid? Where is Obama in demanding that his party’s “leadership” do its job in the Senate?
For that matter, where will the “get to work” Obama be this summer when the debt limit deadline approaches?
For the first family, their Vineyard haven is taking on the flavor of a summer White House. President Obama, for the third straight year, is planning to return to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation this summer, according to a White House official.
The Obamas are scheduled to spend seven to 10 days on the island in mid- to late August, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.
Of course. Thar’s where the adults go when the going gets tough, apparently.