The story of Harry and Mitch
With talks stalled between House Republicans and the White House, the ball is currently in the court of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who are trying to hash out a deal to end the fiscal impasse.
The thing is, the two aren’t exactly chummy. The Post’s Paul Kane:
The deep animosity between Reid, 73, and McConnell, 71, went public this summer, when they clashed over Democratic efforts to amend filibuster rules. McConnell called Reid “the worst leader in the Senate ever,” and Reid accused McConnell of a “breach of faith” over an earlier agreement designed to smooth the confirmation process for judicial and executive branch nominees.
Their daily clashes became so heated that rank-and-file senators requested a rare bipartisan caucus, which led to a highly unusual marathon meeting of almost all 100 senators in the Old Senate Chamber and a bipartisan pact that averted what Reid had threatened: a unilateral, party-line vote to change the filibuster rules.
The Fix explains the difference between the McConnell-Reid relationship, and the Republican’s rapport with Vice President Biden, with whom he struck the deal to avert the fiscal cliff:
Politics — particularly when the stakes are this high — is a personal business, and trust is at the core of any deal. It’s why McConnell and Vice President Biden were able to negotiate a fiscal cliff deal when no one else could. The two men aren’t even close to ideological allies, but they trusted each other at some basic level. That’s what matters. And that’s what Reid and McConnell seem to lack.
So far there have been no breakthroughs. (The two spoke by phone Sunday, but there’s no deal yet.) With other channels leading nowhere, a whole lot appears to be resting on the Reid-McConnell talks.