House Democratic leaders today slammed Republicans over their handling of end-of-year spending and tax cut bills, accusing Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) of “manufacturing” last-minute crises to extract policy concessions from the White House.
At a press briefing, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) called the first session of the 112th Congress a year of “missed opportunities and made-up crises” on virtually every major issue that has confronted Congress, ranging from the summer’s debt ceiling debate to this week’s government shutdown brinkmanship.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) agreed, saying he joined Pelosi in the “lament of 346 days of a do-nothing Republican Congress ... engaged in a year of manufactured crises.”
Michael Steel, spokesman for Boehner, dismissed those complaints, pointing out that the latest game of shutdown chicken was prompted when Democrats sought to connect the spending bill to the payroll tax cut extension measure.
“The current ‘crisis’ was entirely manufactured by the Democrats who run Washington, and everyone knows that,” Steel said.
But when asked about Democrats’ role in the latest dust-up, Pelosi insisted she and her colleagues were blameless.
“No, no, that’s not the case. Republicans took us to this place. ... They always take it to the brink,” she said.
“I’m talking about made-up crises ... when you control the agenda, you control the timing.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.