Throughout this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has used words like “anarchists” to describe principled Tea Party activists and our allies in Congress. Yesterday, however, he brought another chip to the table:
Reid offered to include tax reform, which has bogged down in partisan politics this year, on the agenda. The letter suggested that Democrats would be willing to negotiate changes to ObamaCare as part of budget talks as well.
“I commit to name conferees to a budget conference, as soon as the government reopens,” Reid wrote. “This conference would be an appropriate place to have those discussions, where participants could raise whatever proposals — such as tax reform, health care, agriculture, and certainly discretionary spending like veterans, National Parks and NIH — they felt appropriate.”
Remember, this is the same Harry Reid who yesterday told CNN’s Dana Bash that re-funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – which Republicans are likely to do in the House today –was pitting one child against his constituents who have been furloughed. He later said he didn’t want the House to be able to cherry-pick what stays open and what gets closed – an ironic statement in light of the support he has given the President’s exemptions and delays for special interests in Obamacare.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wasn’t fooled, rightly noting that Democrats would be getting their way in exchange for nothing:
Boehner’s office said Reid’s terms would give Democrats exactly what they want. “The entire government is shut down right now because Washington Democrats refuse to even talk about fairness for all Americans under ObamaCare,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. “Offering to negotiate only after Democrats get everything they want is not much of an offer.”
It would be one thing if the Senate’s top Democrat and President Obama passed and signed real tax reform before asking for more spending. Like eliminating Obamacare, tax reform is necessary for America’s economy to get back on its feet, and for the American people to retake the path to financial health. But the mere promise of negotiations in exchange for what Shutdown Democrats said they wanted in the first place is not an offer, it’s a trick.
Last night’s meeting at the White House offered nothing constructive in the conversation to fully reopen the American government. The President is refusing to negotiate on Obamacare when it comes to all Americans – something he has no problem modifying at his will when it comes to his special interest allies. Reid’s bad faith negotiations on the Continuing Resolution are another reason to reject any offer requiring faith.
Broken trust has consequences. When it comes to the Washington D.C., Americans learned that the hard way.