Although in-fighting among Republicans has taken up much of the coverage following the government shutdown, it appears that things are hardly harmonious for Democrats as well. According to sources close to Capital Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has demanded that Vice President Joe Biden not be included in any discussion about the government shutdown or looming debt crisis, or in deal-making with Republicans.
While Biden has previously been one of the chief deal makers for Democrats, in the wake up the government shutdown many Democrats are voicing concerns that his deals were weak, and that he let Republicans get away with too much. “None of the deals Biden has struck have aged well from the perspective of the Democratic Caucus,” a Senate Democratic official told Politico on Tuesday.
Reid stipulated when he met with President Obama over the summer to discuss strategy for the upcoming economic battle that Biden not be in attendance. The Vice President, however, has been seen at more recent backdoor sessions, implying that he is still at least privy to what is going on.
In December Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Biden had negotiations about fiscal policy which ended with Republicans getting a desired tax freeze on families making over $450,00 a year or more. Democrats hoped to see a tax increase for all families making over $250,00, which lead many to question Biden’s negotiation skills.
However, despite criticism, many don’t fault the Vice President, and point out that Republicans have been steadfast in their demands. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) blamed Republican fanaticism for the unsatisfying deal.
“I think he’s done the best we can get sometimes,” Brown said. “I’m not thrilled about any of the ways that some of these negotiations have gone because Republicans are willing to shut down the government and do the kinds of things they’re doing now and that’s a pretty strong hand to play when the other side knows you’re willing to go right up to the debt ceiling and maybe go past it and shut the government down.”
As of writing, neigher the office of the Vice President or the Senate Majority have commented on the issue.