Republicans toss insults at Harry Reid
By: Burgess Everett
September 29, 2013 06:03 PM EDT
Washington’s shutdown blame game is already in full force – and the government isn’t even closed yet.
About 20 House Republicans gathered on the steps of the United States Senate on Sunday afternoon, a time usually reserved in the city for watching the Redskins. Instead, tourists gathered to watch Republican after Republican demanding that the Senate come back in session, accusing the Democratic controlled chamber of being “lazy” and Majority Leader Harry Reid of taking his ball and going home rather than negotiating with GOP leadership over the weekend.
The Senate toyed with coming in on Sunday — but not to pass the House’s continuing resolution that delays Obamacare and repeals the medical device tax. Leaders ultimately scrapped the idea and will move on Monday afternoon to dismiss the House’s health care provisions as Reid and President Barack Obama remain united in refusing negotiations on anything Obamacare-related to keep the government running.
“I’m glad now to invite to the microphone our distinguished majority leader in the Senate,” said Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio, gesturing to an empty microphone as House members guffawed. “I’m sorry, Harry’s not here today. Maybe he’ll show up later.”
Republicans fear they will be handed the blame for a cutoff in government services and sought on Sunday afternoon to preemptively toss the hot potato back to the Senate, accusing the upper chamber of forcing a shutdown for political gain.
“This is the old football strategy. When you get to where you want to be in a football game, you run out the clock. You run out the clock because you think you like where you are,” said Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas, cradling a pigskin for effect. “Sounds like my way or the highway is the Senate way.”
“Negotiations require two sides. Tim, a football game requires two teams. Picking up your football and going home makes for a lousy game,” said Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. “I’m here to work through the weekend, and I expect the Senate to do the same.”
“The Senate, led by Harry Reid, makes it clear: ‘Well, we’re going to take a lazy break until Monday at 2 o’clock,’” said Louie Gohmert of Texas.
After about 25 minutes of this, one gawking onlooker had had enough.
“The American people elected Barack Obama. He was elected by the American people, not you!” screamed a woman at the Republicans, later identified by TV reporters as Cathryn Carroll. She gestured at the Republicans, pointing and yelling: “They are disingenuous people!”
“We were elected,” chuckled Rep. Oceander Rohrabacher of California as aides quickly moved to scuttle the press conference.