Harry Reid to guarantee government shutdown by insisting on more 'revenue' in budget talks
As long as the majority leader insists that "revenue increases" are part of any package to keep the government running, House Republicans will oppose him.
Asserting that "the American people" are on his side, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told me during an exclusive interview for "This Week" that any that deal reached between Republicans and Democrats to avoid the looming sequester must - "without any question" - include revenue.
"The American people are on our side. The American people don't believe in these austere things. We believe that the rich should contribute. We believe we should fill those tax loopholes - get rid of them, I should say. And that's where we need to go," Reid said. "And I've got a pretty good fan base for that: the American people. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents."
Reid confirmed his position on revenue would apply to any deal put into place to avert a government shutdown or lift the debt ceiling as well. This puts him directly at odds with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, who said earlier this month on "This Week" that the "tax issue is finished,"But Reid - invoking the GOP's 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney - suggested a deal could include such things as the elimination of oil and gas subsidies, or what he called "low hanging fruit." The Nevada senator also pushed back when I asked if he was sidelined during the so called "fiscal cliff" negotiations, telling me he played the "bad cop" during that period.
There is no way that closing tax "loopholes" for the rich is going to generate the kind of revenue that will satisfy the voracious appetite for cash that Reid and his boss possess. And there's no guarantee they would follow through on any budget cuts, especially those that would hit Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
But Reid isn't interested in revenue so much as placing the blame for any government shutdown on Republicans. He and his boss in the White House think they can spin any breakdown in negotiations and make it look like the GOP's fault.
In this, they may be successful. What their strategy will do to the economy appears to be a concern furthest from their minds.