October 8th, 2013
04:55 PM ET
11 months ago

What is Biden’s Role?

Washington (CNN) - It’s an open secret that many congressional Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, were not happy with some of the past budget deals brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. They groused that they had given too much to Republicans in both the 2011 debt ceiling deal and as well as one last December focusing on the so-called fiscal cliff that pushed off only for a short time across-the-board spending cuts. And some blamed Biden - most notably Reid.

This time around, it’s Reid leading the charge for the Democrats. He’s made that point very clear, both inside and outside of the White House. As one administration official put it, "Reid is convinced he needs to stand his ground."

Translation: Biden butt out.

And there are lots of reasons for it. First, Reid has made it clear he doesn’t want history to repeat itself - and it won’t if he’s calling the shots. He’s got his caucus united behind him this time around. Plus, the action is has really been with House Republicans, a group not enamored with Biden, who served in the Senate for nearly four decades before becoming vice president.

And there’s another huge difference this time around: There have been no negotiations, at least not so far. That’s the strategy.

This is Reid’s show. And while Biden may be at the key meetings - and was spotted chatting with McConnell after one involving congressional leaders last week at the White House which raised some eyebrows - he’s not the point man this time around.

"There is a totally different crowd of people and dynamic," one administration official said. "This has been much more focused on the House than the Senate."

And one more thing: McConnell, who is facing a tough re-election race in Kentucky, is not anxious to get anywhere near a deal on these contentious issues - at least not now.

Biden may not be in charge, but he hasn’t disappeared: He has canceled several out of town political appearances in the last week so he can be in Washington. Just in case.


Filed under: Government Shutdown • Harry Reid • Joe Biden • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. J R Brown

    So...the only Democratic leader in the Obama administration with a proven track record while on the job of negotiating for compromises has been locked out by Obama and Reid...???
    The problem with being the guy who says "I won't negotiate" is that you can't call out the other guy for being a bastard because he "won't negotiate". Being President is not being "King of the United States"....you can't just ignore the will of the 49% of Americans who voted for the other guy. It leads to things like what we are seeing going on right now.

    Obama is the greatest "divider-in-chief" in American history...and has done more to disenfranchise the 49% of Americans who didn't vote for him than any other President, ever. He's the President of the Democrats of America...not all Americans, and he's made himself that by his own policies. He "wont' negotiate"....his idea of negotiation is "agree with me or else".

    October 9, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  2. Norm

    I always thought that the VP was in charge of the Senate. . Harry Reid is only responsible for the Democrat Senators. Why is he calling the shots

    October 9, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  3. ImvotingforHillary

    Obama has nothing to lose because he can't run again. Hillary is not involved so her political future is safe. The GOP has everything to lose and I hope they do lose it.

    October 9, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  4. Carolyn Johansen

    Biden's role is comic relief. Does anyone take him seriously? He is one of the reasons more people are not demanding Obama's impeachment and/or resignation. Could you see "run at the mouth" Biden as president? We have lost much of the respect of foreign nations already. Put Biden in as President, and WE WILL BE A COMPLETE LAUGHINGSTOCK. Could you imagine Biden chatting with Putin..... that is just too funny this early in the morning.

    October 9, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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