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After criticizing Cantor’s exit from the budget talks, Braley said: “We can’t afford to put our veterans, our seniors and our entire economy in jeopardy because a few members of Congress don’t want to do the work they were sent here to do.”
Braley’s approach, then, was to respond with mindless partisan rhetoric that will help him move up the House leadership ladder but won’t move the Congress to resolve a serious problem.
Rep. Xavier Becerra’s (D-Calif.) comment that Republicans are “running away from the mess they created” also shows he is fitting right in at the Capitol. It’s all the opposition’s fault.
Republicans want to drag President Obama into the middle of negotiations, understanding that would put him between a rock and a hard place. He either has to agree to take additional revenue off the table, creating a firestorm in his party, or he has to look as if he wants higher taxes and isn’t sufficiently committed to deficit reduction.
It’s a terrible place for the president to be — but it’s the only place he ought to be, given the importance of the negotiations and the necessity of an agreement.
Still, it’s hard to believe an agreement between the parties is imminent. After all, we are still five weeks away from the deadline by which Congress must act, so what politician could possibly pass up a whole month of demonizing the opposition by charging it is in bed with Big Oil, siding with billionaires over the middle class, opposed to any spending cuts and intent on taxing all of us into the poor house?
Get set for a long, hot month of July.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.