Democrats were quick to attack Boehner’s retreat Saturday as an indictment of the tea party wing of the Republican Party and an unwillingness to do what is necessary to meet the president at least part of the way. It was reported that the $4 trillion deal would have included close to $3 trillion in cuts to government spending and programs and $1 trillion in tax reform, such as the closing of loopholes and subsidies, as well as other revenue raisers, such as the sale of government land. Democrats said Boehner’s decision to walk away from such a deal demonstrated that his Members were unwilling to meet Democrats even partway.
“The President has called the Republicans’ bluff by offering them exactly the type of grand bargain they said they wanted, only to have it rejected,” Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement. “Speaker Boehner had shown in the last week that, if it were up to him alone to decide, the nation would not be risking default to protect the wealthiest two percent of Americans. But in the end, neither the olive branch extended by the President nor the pragmatic streak shown by Speaker Boehner was enough to overcome the far right’s obsession with defending tax breaks for millionaires and other special-interest tax loopholes.”
Some Democrats even suggested that Republicans are afraid to give the president a bipartisan victory, but McConnell scoffed at such a notion, even though he has repeatedly stated that his goal is to get Obama out of office.
“That’s my single most important political goal — along with every active Republican in the country — but that’s for 2012,” McConnell said. “Our biggest goal for this year is to get our country straightened out.”