With an Obama second term locked into place, House Republicans are recovering from coming up shy of a majority in the Senate by offering a hand of bipartisanship to Democrats—for now.
House Majority Leader John Boehner addressed how Republicans will address the looming “fiscal cliff” slated to slash the sacred cows of each party by letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire and cutting into spending programs.
“Mr. President, the Republican majority here in the House stands ready to work with you to do what’s best for our country,” Boehner said. “Because the American people expect us to find common ground, we’re willing to accept some additional revenues via tax reform.”
Boehner said that his party’s quest for a solution did not seek confrontation, but he added caveats to bipartisanship in outlining his party’s terms.
“We won’t solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight and certainly won’t do it in a lame-duck session of Congress. And it won’t be solved simply by raising taxes or taking a plunge off the fiscal cliff,” Boehner said.
“Republicans have signaled a willingness to accept new revenue if it comes from growth and reform,” he later added. “So let’s start the discussion there.”
Boehner zeroed in on the word ”mandate” to advance the idea that Republicans entered debt crisis negotiations based on the will of the American people and not their party’s agenda.
“If there’s a mandate in yesterday’s results, it’s a mandate for us to find a way to work together on the solutions to the challenges that we all face as a nation,” Boehner said. “You know, the American people this week didn’t give us a mandate to simply do the simple thing. They elected us to lead. They gave us a mandate to work together to do the best for our country.”
Following Tuesday’s electoral success for Democrats in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid held his own conference discussing the fiscal cliff. Reid emphasized that his party was not a group of push-overs, particularly in standing up to the partisan gridlock famously personified by Senate Minority Leader Mich McConnell, R-Ky., who vowed to obstruct the president’s agenda and prevent him from having a second term.
“That’s gone, Obama was re-elected overwhelmingly,” Reid said.
The Nevada Democrat went on to reiterate how lessons learned from his days as an amateur boxer applied to his role as Senate leader.
“I know how to fight. I know how to dance. I don’t dance as well as I fight, but I’d rather dance anytime,” Reid said.
“And I still feel that way,” he said Wednesday. “It’s better to dance than to fight. It’s better to work together. Everything doesn’t have to be a fight.”