Thursday, February 05, 2009

Democrats / Republicans claim bipartisanship isn't working

We're getting into the fun part of the congressional blame game here. From The

Frustrated Senate Democratic leaders dispensed with calls for bipartisanship on the stimulus package Thursday, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that he won't let anyone "hold the president of the United States hostage."

President Barack Obama had once hoped to have the package pass with substantial Republican support. But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that's now a “distant memory."

"So far," he said, bipartisanship "isn't working. . . . It takes two to tango, but the Republicans aren’t dancing.”

But in an interview with Politico, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that it’s the Democrats – and not the Republicans – who have made a mockery of bipartisanship.

“Senators are in a panic – this bill is stinking up the place,” Graham said – then accused Obama of being “AWOL” in the stimulus discussions.

Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other moderate senators are trying to negotiate a compromise that could kill tens of billions from the bill. Reid said the leadership would consider that proposal, "but the question is whether [the plan] would strengthen the bill."

Reid said Obama “instructed” him to work with the bipartisan group of senators, but he rejected calls from some senators to overhaul the bill. “If they think they’re going to rewrite the bill, Barack Obama is going to walk away,” he said.

Reid said he hoped the Senate would approve the bill as soon as Thursday night and send the measure to a House-Senate conference committee that would iron out the final package.

Despite concerns from some centrist Democrats, Reid said his 58-person caucus would be unified in support - and that he could pick up two Republican votes to get to the 60 he'll need.

The Democratic Senate leaders seemed to be taking their lead from Obama, who's been courting Republicans but also taking veiled shots at their party.

Sometimes politics is fun to watch with some buttered popcorn. Harry Reid is blaming the Republicans for holding President Barack Obama hostage, while Senate Republicans are blaming the Democrats for allowing the stimulus bill to stink Capitol Hill up. What you are hearing is the obligatory insults of each party blaming the other for not engaging in a "bipartisan" manner. Of course, if both sides are that pissed off over "bipartisanship," then maybe the compromise and bipartisanship for passing this economic stimulus bill is actually working? Perhaps it may end up passing.

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