October 8th, 2013
04:55 PM ET
6 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. park more

    Is he still VP? We don't see him at all

    October 8, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  2. Name

    Biden has that face that makes you mad everytime you see it

    October 8, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  3. poseidon

    I'll take "Clown" for $250, Alex.

    October 8, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  4. Hammer time

    His role is to be a cheerleader, he is by far the most useless VP in some time.

    October 8, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  5. BigJolie

    Biden? He has big plate of lobster and a cold mug of beer sitting next to him right now. Not sweating anything. Seriously .

    October 8, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  6. Rick

    It sounds like a good plan, bring in Biden when needed. I think the polls are off. Once the elderly start getting worried about Social Security President Obama will look like a hero. In the mean time stocks will plummet and people's retirements will vanish. What the hell, tank the economy and wipe out Social Security because of Obama Care. It sounds insane because it is "insane".

    October 8, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  7. Steve- Illinois

    Reid/Biden Dumb and Dumber.

    October 8, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  8. Christelle

    I hope that they can correct their decide and right time for reputation and democrat make agreement to each other. They would have to pass the bill soon because the people want to return this week but when? Not yet and please tell us what date to make right decision then let us know what date we can return to work again, include on news too thank you.

    Christelle

    October 8, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  9. Scott

    Biden has been inexplicably absent in recent weeks, only appearing so far as I can say this morning on the sleeve of President Obama during the rambling same old same old speech. There seemed to be a carefully concealed olive branch in this speech today. Is it coincidence?

    Reid may be upset that Biden "gave too much" in 2011, and maybe his 'tough' stance is getting somewhere in his own mind, but the fact is in 2011 government did not shut down and the default of the US government wasn't pending. The President may be a lot of things, but he is sly.

    October 8, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. John Mustard

    I dont even think Biden knows what he is doing other than putting his foot in his mouth.

    October 8, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  11. NameLindaHardge

    Vice president Biden is not silent, he is as fed up as all Democrats in letting Republicans get teir way. When the ship sinks, we will all sink together. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party will the first to cry wolf and jump ship after sending this country into another recession worst than the last. Thank God my mother and father held on to their 40 acres and a mule!

    October 8, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  12. Laughing

    History is going to blame Obama for any economic meltdown that results from all this. People don't remember who was Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader during the 1920s or mid to late 1970s, all they remember are Hoovervilles and that Ford and Carter presided during recessions. Pick any recession and you probably can't name the Speaker or Senate Majority Leader at the time without looking it up and 50 years from now Boehner and Reid will be after thoughts and it will be Obama that history will say allowed a global economic meltdown to happen.

    October 9, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  13. Imigrants protest on on NPark while americans are shutout

    Biden's job is to go to the roof when he feels threatened and fire a warning shot and then if that doesn't work he fire through the door.

    A quote from our VP when asked about gun control/ CCW repel.

    October 9, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. Gig'em

    Harry Reid is an angry and frustrated old man. Harry is not the solution, he is the problem. He is one of the biggest reasons that Congress is often in gridlock. He is not doing the Democratic party any favors.

    October 9, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  15. Anonymous

    To shut up and color with his crayons......and keep his feet out of his mouth......

    October 9, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  16. Rick H.

    To constantly remind the people that Amerika will be "putting yall back in chains....."

    October 9, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. Patrick Henry

    Joe Bitem is doing the same thing he's always sone, which either hiding out or giving someone elses speech as if it were his own.

    October 9, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  18. bl

    Repubs need to remember We The People hired them and.will fire them come next election.

    October 9, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  19. Thaddeus Kozubal

    Biden is a little too friendly with members of Congress and is a little loose at the mouth to be successful in negotiations. Reid knows that and cautioned Obama that he might give away the store if he's involved. After all, where is Biden going to go from here?

    October 9, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  20. Kimo

    His role is to stay out of Hillary's way....

    October 9, 2013 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  21. nuclear mike

    The VP is gonna talk about shotguns and how to apply them in case of emergency...

    October 9, 2013 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  22. Gerry

    Biden's role is to simply stand at the sidelines while America breathes a sigh of relief every morning when we find out Obama still has a pulse. If not for that pulse, Biden would be in the oval office and the country would really be in big trouble.

    October 9, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  23. Joe Biden

    His only part is to get coffee, until he screws that up................

    October 9, 2013 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  24. ep tor

    With Boehner and his band of extortionists standing their ground while the ship heads into a hurricane and Obama determined to batten the hatches and weather the storm, I guess we best get the children and women into the life boats and for the rest of us it's every man for himself. Biden's the smartest of all of us, he took off in the night in the ship's dingy with the maid.

    October 9, 2013 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  25. idb

    Biden? Who is Biden? Oh, yes, the guy that shuts down traffic in Charleston SC all the time for his fun trips on tax payer expense.

    October 9, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
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