Reid countered that the Republicans are protecting “millionaires and billionaires” at the expense of creating jobs for the middle class. Senate Democrats are poised to introduce an infrastructure bill that would include a tax increase on individuals earning more than $1 million. Republicans argue such a levy would hamper job creation and economic growth.
“I’m terribly disappointed that the Republican caucus has ignored the wishes of the American people,” Reid said.
Reid also said that during today’s caucus lunch he informed Senate Democrats of the negative repercussions that would occur if the super committee falls short of expectations, and he told reporters that failure would be disastrous. But he seemed to try to shift the burden for the panel’s success to the Republicans.
“I read to my caucus today what happens in sequestration with domestic discretionary spending. I mean, the cuts — 800,000 kids and their families would be taken off Head Start — sequestration, 800,000 children and families, no Head Start. And a long list of other very brutal cuts,” Reid said. “But my friend, [Speaker] John Boehner wants this grand bargain without any sacrifice to their people that have most of the money in this country. ... So I would hope we can get something done there, but, you know, if they can’t get it done, they can’t it done. You have to have two. It takes two to tango.”
McConnell said he would not have supported the legislation creating the super committee if he thought it could not succeed.
“Well, this joint select committee was set up to succeed. I assure you, I wouldn’t have lightly been a part of crafting a process that reduced the number for success in the Senate to 51 and eliminated the possibility of amendments if I was not interested in getting an outcome,” he said. “My view is, on really difficult challenges, divided government is actually the best time to do it, not the toughest time, but the best time to do it. ... My view is, why not now?”
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.