October 8th, 2013
04:55 PM ET
12 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. The Ham

    Usually saying something that makes most people face palm....

    October 8, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. ED1

    Reid and Biden both open mouth and out comes stupid.

    October 8, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Borderless

    He's the look out.

    October 8, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Mel

    WHAT IS BIDEN'S ROLE?

    To mow the lawn at the White House every Friday.

    October 8, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Hammerer

    According to the msm the repubs are doomed, so what do they have to lose. When a person is cornered and has no hope he does some strange things.
    obama thinks has the repubs cornered with no chance to win, so why not let the debt default and take obama and reid and all of the left down with them. In all of their wisdom they give the pepubs no choice, which says volumes about their negotiation skills.
    Yes there are consequences and obama will be at fault no matter because it happens on his watch. At least he can say he did not negotiate with a gun held to his head.

    October 8, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Data Driven

    What a weird piece. A lot of grafs just to say, "Reid is Senate Majority Leader".

    October 8, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Data Driven

    What if the rest of the country is not interested in going down in flames with the "tea party" cabal, Hammerer?

    Sheesh, leave us out of it.

    October 8, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Ol' Yeller

    "obama thinks has the repubs cornered with no chance to win, so why not let the debt default and take obama and reid and all of the left down with them. In all of their wisdom they give the pepubs no choice, which says volumes about their negotiation skills."
    Yeah, yeah... and romney wins by a landslide and the ACA will never pass, and I do not like green eggs and ham...

    October 8, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. rs

    Hammerer

    According to the msm the repubs are doomed, so what do they have to lose. When a person is cornered and has no hope he does some strange things.
    ______________________________________
    Well, one might think that despite their pathetic actions to date, the GOP/TP would do something for the nation, rather than their party. Look, all they may have left at this point is to do the right thing. If they push the nation back into recession, they'll be the most-hated party in American history, because no one will buy the idea that the Democrats or the President did this. &5% of Americans disagree with the GOP/TP on the shutdown, more on the possible government default (something the Greeks or Italians would do). The Democrats certainly didn't run on shutting down government in 2010, or for defaulting on the nation's financial obligations, nor did the President in 2012.

    No, theis one is on the GOP and if they play it out to the end it's game over. It really is that simple.

    October 8, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. are122

    What is Joe Biden's role? <~~He goes and has a few drinks for those stuck working.

    October 8, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. Magister

    Joe Biden is like that embarrassing uncle no one likes to talk about who shows up at your wedding drunk, grabs the microphone, starts telling really dirty jokes and gets all the punchlines wrong.

    October 8, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. mlr

    biden who?

    October 8, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. MickeyOregon

    What is Biden's role? Obama's insurance against assassination. What other reason could he have been chosen as a running mate?

    October 8, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. bilbfit

    I always thought that his role was to lay low while getting additional hair transplants, and then to get stomped by Hillary at the next Demo convention. Hmmm...go figure.

    October 8, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. Brian in DC

    I'm guessing Joe's job is to don a jester hat and provide entertainment.

    October 8, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Fred

    Send in Biden.

    October 8, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. boungiorno

    Biden was a Solid Brick In The Wall when his Military Stance was needed in the Country we are now miles down the road he has contributed to his country unlike others who point the finger because their lucky to be able to know how to do that

    October 8, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. MJ

    His role is to be kept out of sight for as long as possible.

    October 8, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. Art

    Go Harry. Don't blink! Democrats CAN'T negotiate over AHCA. It is the law of the land and has been for over 4 years. Repeat. It is the law of the land and has been for over 4 years. To change the law is rather simple: win an election. These Republicans are intent on one thing and one thing only. Destroy Obama. Americans are hearing terms like sequester, and debt ceiling limits etc. for the first time during Obama's presidency. When GWB was requesting $80B supplementals every few months, I did not hear one, count them, one Republican say anything. Where was their fiscal restraint then? Ted Cruz spoke for over 21 hours, saying nothing. The lights stayed on all night and I suspect there had to be a skeletal staff present. That's called waste. These Republicans want good health care for themselves and their families on the government but screw everybody else. These guys are outrageous. Don't blink, Harry. Don't blink.

    October 8, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. w l jones

    You can talk some people in during the right thing but look like Senator Reid going have strip a long reed for those guys.

    October 8, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Ed

    Biden has nothing to contribute to the dialog, or lack thereof. Interjecting him into this dispute would simply throw more partisan gasoline on the fire.

    October 8, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. CS_Madison

    Biden's job is to warm-up the Trans Am and buy the beer!

    October 8, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Gary Phillips

    I'd tell you what I think his roll is but my comment would be censored.

    October 8, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. Roger

    Who is Joe Biden BTW.? I dont know if we have elected a leader with that name. Anyway , what has he done so far for people of US ? Any idea ?

    October 8, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. vinster76

    "what's Biden's role?" – everytime he opens his mouth, something asinine comes out........I'd say they're telling him to just shut up till after the mid-term elections.........

    October 8, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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