Sen. Barbara Mikulski called the reaction from Senate Democrats volcanic once they heard news of a possible deficit deal between President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner.
Durbin, who said Lew assured the Democratic Senators that no such deal had been made, fell in line with Reid’s comments to reporters around the same time. The Nevada Democrat said his Conference would not support a deal without revenues and that he hoped the “president would stick with that.”
A Senate leadership aide contested the notion that Thursday’s meeting was unpleasant.
“It was lively,” the aide said, adding that much of the frustration was directed at Lew and not at other Members. “Democrats were united in their message to the White House that any deficit deal must include revenues.”
Although it was easy to gauge the temperature of Senate Democrats, who were in the same place when reports of the Obama deal surfaced, it’s less clear how House Democrats received the news.
House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen said he had not heard of a deal struck Thursday afternoon, but he added that there had been a “meeting of the minds” about doing something larger.
“There are a lot of people who were very skeptical about whether that would happen, but I think both sides remain focused on that even as discussions about Plan B” continue, the Maryland Democrat said.
House Democratic aides said that given the composition of their Caucus, if Senate Democrats were upset, it is likely their colleagues across the Capitol would be doubly so.