Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this morning that it “looks like” Congress will fail to come to a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff, blaming the failure on House Speaker John Boehner’s “dictatorship” running the lower chamber.”It looks like that’s where we’re headed,” Reid said. “I don’t know, time-wise, how it can happen now.”
It’s not exactly a surprise — leaders left Washington last week without any imminent signs of a deal in the making. But it’s a grim warning just days before tax hikes and automatic spending cuts begin to take effect.
Markets tanked immediately in the aftermath of Reid’s floor speech, with the Dow off more than 110 shortly after noon.
Reid opened the Senate session by launching into a lengthy criticism of the House and Boehner, saying he “seems to care more about his Speakership” than making a deal on the cliff.
The House is being run “by a dictatorship of the Speaker,” Reid said. He accused Boehner of waiting until the election of the Speaker on Jan. 3 to get involved with negotiations. And he urged the lower chamber to pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which the Senate narrowly passed in July. The bill made permanent all of the Bush-era tax cuts on incomes of less than $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals.
Reid also slammed the House for not being in session on Thursday. He said that instead of being in Washington, Republicans are “out watching movies.”
“They had to have a conference call,” he said.
Reid’s comments come a day after Boehner put the onus on the Senate to make the next move in fiscal cliff negotiations.