Behind-the-Scenes Budget Negotiators Revealed

Friday, 08 Apr 2011 12:15 PM

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The federal budget negotiators slaving away into the long, sleepless nights hoping to avert a government shutdown are not House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Instead, they are two largely unknown staff members, The Washington Post reported.

budeget, negotiatorsIn Boehner’s corner is Barry Jackson (pictured with Boehner), who came to Washington 20 years with Boehner and is described as a “rumpled Midwesterner who loves auto racing.”

In Reid’s, David Krone, “a hard-nosed and crafty … multi-millionaire former cable lobbyist” who idolizes Reid, the Post said.

Despite the differences, both have similarities. Jackson, 50, and Krone, 44, were born in October and both are single. They have encyclopedic memories and are “laconic and fiercely loyal,” according to the Post.

Long after Boehner, Reid, and President Barack Obama were in bed following their Wednesday night meeting, Jackson and Krone stayed late at the White House and talked again in the morning. The two have been negotiating for weeks, often talking many times a day. And, while the leaders have not been shy about showing their political sides, the two have avoided fiery rhetoric, according to the Post.

GOP strategist Karl Rove, who worked with Jackson in the Bush White House, said, “He’s got such a good relationship with Boehner, he knows how much leash he has, and he uses it all but doesn’t go over. He understands where Boehner’s red lines and limits are,” the Post said.

Reid’s former chief of staff Susan McCue said Krone has “the full confidence of Leader Reid in representing his position. There isn’t a lot of fog on where he stands. He’s quiet, but he doesn’t dance around the hard facts and truths at hand,” the Post reported.

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