Democratic senators are frustrated with the low-profile President Barack Obama has kept during the rancorous spending debate dominating Capitol Hill, urging him Tuesday to take an assertive role or risk strengthening the Republicans’ hand in the next round of negotiations.
“Well, I think they should be involved more, and I think they will be,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday, when asked about the White House.
At a closed-door session on the budget, nine Democratic senators spent parts of the 30-minute meeting whacking the White House for not being more engaged, according to people who were present.
The open irritation with the White House comes just as Reid announced support for the Republican-led bill which passed in the House Tuesday and funds the government for another two weeks, while slashing $4 billion. Senate Democrats’ call for Obama to step it up is a precursor to two looming fights: one over a bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, and another on whether to raise the national debt limit.
Without a clear strategy from the top, Democrats fear their party risks splintering even further. And absent a plan, Democratic senators worry they’ll be forced to cast politically treacherous votes that may be rendered meaningless if the White House and Republican leaders ultimately reach a bipartisan deal, nullifying whatever action the Senate takes.
“If there is a plan, people here deserve to have some sense of what it is,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said at the meeting, according to sources familiar with his remarks.
Reid: Obama Not Leading on Budget
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