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In the Senate, a Frustrated Democratic Conference

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call

“My understanding is that we’re not included” in the talks, Feinstein continued, “and he had no idea discussions were even going on. ... I like to know what I’m doing and I can’t get any information, and it’s very frustrating. It’s very hard. It’s easy to pass something and say one year or so later, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t realize I did that.’”

Feinstein then echoed what many of her colleagues, including Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), had said Thursday as they left the luncheon: Democrats felt comfortable using the Reid-McConnell agreement going forward.

“We have to know some specificity, and that’s why I’ve thought Reid-McConnell is the best option,” Feinstein said, adding that provisions from the “gang of six” bipartisan budget talks could be added in the future once the debt ceiling was raised.

Kerry said Thursday: “The best thing for us to do is to embrace the McConnell-Reid approach. ... It is, in fact, a very specific and very tough process, which the Senate and Congress would have to complete the task of the big deal. So you get the best of both worlds.”

But as reports swirled Thursday and Friday on the contours of the Obama-Boehner deal, Congressional Democrats issued more “no comments” than daggers toward the White House.

Now on the sidelines, many Senators just seemed to shrug as they made preparations to return to their states.

Feinstein, who will stay in D.C. this weekend, seemed to lay down the rank-and-file Democratic party line.

“It’s big stuff,” she said. “You really have to know what you’re doing before blithely saying you’re going to enact it.”

As Reid said, the Senate is waiting.

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