The talk is of jobs and fixing the nation’s fiscal problems, but both sides in Washington are keeping their powder dry at the moment, looking for political advantage over the other.
House Republicans are spending the next week in what is largely a symbolic act to repeal President Obama’s health care bill, which will likely go nowhere in the Senate and would be vetoed anyway by the president if it did pass.
But when it comes to putting forth ideas for how to cut spending, or how to make Medicare and Medicaid solvent, the GOP has been clear about one thing only: they have little intention of making politically perilous proposals before the president does.
“Entitlement reform will only be done on a bipartisan basis. So we’re waiting for signals from the president as to whether or not that’s a discussion he’s willing to have,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, in a Thursday press conference. “The president must embrace it.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, acted on Tuesday as if Obama was the one who was just elected based on promises to cut government spending.
“Once we get to the State of the Union, I can tell you, I expect this president to put some action behind the words that he has been using,” Cantor said. “Number one, I am looking to see some significant spending cuts proposed by the president that we can work on together.”