Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on Monday lashed out at President Barack Obama for “slowing down” negotiations and preventing Congress from reaching a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
“What we ought to do is put a bill on the Senate floor and let people actually offer amendments and vote on them,” Barrasso told CBS News. “We shouldn’t be here waiting for people to cut deals in back rooms. The American people ought to be able to watch the discussion and the debate and how people vote on various issues: the death tax, tax rates and how the money is going to be used.”
The Wyoming senator added that it was obstruction on the part of the president, not Republicans, that was preventing Congress from getting a deal passed.
“The president doesn’t seem too eager to actually get involved and find solutions to deal with the number one problem facing our country,” he explained. “The bottom line is the president is the only one with a pen who can sign into law something and he ought to be very involved with making sure that he gets something that he will sign that will pass both a Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate.”
“I would say to [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, bring a bill to the floor of the Senate and let’s starting voting,” Barrasso continued. “Quit trying to cut deals behind closed doors and, get to the floor of the Senate and let the American people see the discussion… But it seems like the president is handcuffing Harry Reid from even bringing a bill to the floor now.”
“The president is, I believe, slowing down the process, not helping.”
Democrats, however, have asserted that negotiations only moved to the Senate after Republicans in the House refused to even bring Obama’s offer of 1.2 trillion in new revenue and 1.2 trillion in spending cuts up for a vote.
“If they can’t come to agreement within their own conference — if they continue to self-destruct before our eyes in their own conference — then minimally they have a responsibility, as the president suggested, to bring his proposal to the floor for an up-or-down vote,” Rep. John Larson (D-CT) told reporters on Sunday. “We can only hope that our colleagues come to their senses.”
Watch this video from CBS News, broadcast Dec. 31, 2012.