National Journal: Biden Jumped in After Reid Stopped Negotiating

Tuesday, 01 Jan 2013 11:05 PM

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Vice President Joe Biden was brought in as the Democrats’ lead fiscal cliff negotiator after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stalled at giving Republicans further concessions, a new report says.

Within minutes of Reid making it clear on Sunday that he would yield no more, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was on the phone to his longtime friend Biden asking him to get involved, reports the National Journal.

“We know that when McConnell has hit a wall with Reid, he calls Joe Biden to get some more candy,” a Democratic Senate aide told the magazine.

The Senate leaders traded proposals through much of Friday and Saturday, the Journal says. McConnell sent his last offer to Reid around 7.10 Saturday evening and Reid’s office suggested a counter would be issued early Sunday morning.

But the morning ended without any new offer and at 1 p.m. Reid’s office made it clear there would be none.

“Reid was playing hardball. With polls showing that the public was far more likely to blame congressional Republicans than the president if the nation jumped off the fiscal cliff – and billions in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts went into effect – Reid rightfully knew that McConnell wanted a deal – and badly,” the Journal says.

But within minutes of McConnell calling Biden, negotiations were back on, the Journal reports. Within 24 hours the two men had come up with the framework for agreement.

If the deal, which was passed by the Senate and House on Tuesday, is seen as a success in the long-term, Biden could boost his chances of becoming president in 2016, the Journal says. “The episode amounted to a presidential moment: He was called to swoop in at the last minute to save taxes from rising on nearly all Americans and succeeded," says the Journal.

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