At a meeting earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) joked with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he’d be willing to trade a couple of Senate’s most flippant members for two in the House.
The exchange, which was first reported by the New York Times and confirmed by a person with knowledge of the meeting, ended with a quip back from Boehner.
“You don’t want mine,” Boehner deadpanned.
The exchange came at a private meeting earlier this month among Reid, Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It resonates as Republicans and Democrats’ bickering over a bill to keep the government funded threatens a government shutdown beginning on Tuesday.
During the government-shutdown and debt-ceiling battles — and, really, for the past year — Boehner has been boxed in by a loud, conservative contingent of his caucus.
In these fights, contrary to Republican leadership’s wishes, they have demanded to defund the Affordable Care Act or have requested significant changes to the health-care law. Or, in the case of raising the debt ceiling to avoid default, they have pushed for a list of demands that mirrors the Republican Party’s platform.
On Saturday, the House of Representatives passed two amendments that would significantly chip away at Obamacare — a one-year delay of its implementation and a permanent repeal of its new tax on medical devices. Both amendments are expected to be rejected by the Senate in its continuing resolution, but House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Sunday that Republicans in the House will move another bill that makes fundamental changes to Obamacare.
Reid lashed out at Republicans on Saturday, saying negotiations over keeping the government running were being held hostage by “Tea Party anarchists.”
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