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.”
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.