Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) bitingly counseled Republicans Monday that their negotiating tactics on ways to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" are faulty.
In his daily floor speech, opening Senate action for the day, Reid said his days as a lawyer taught him that negotiations must begin with both sides outlining their position for the other.
"I have a bit of negotiating advice for Republican leaders: You’re doing it wrong," he said. "Generally during a negotiation, each side brings an offer or demand to the table. And then the two sides sit down and find middle ground everyone can live with."
"Unless both sides come to the table with an offer, you can’t even begin the negotiation. In fact, unless both sides come to the table with an offer, it’s not really a negotiation at all," he said.
Republicans have complained that a White House offer to avoid the coming combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, delivered last week by Treasurer Secretary Timothy Geithner, reflected a Democratic wish list with no concessions to Republicans.
But Reid said true talks cannot begin until Republicans put forward a counter-proposal.
"I wish I could share with you the details of the Republicans’ answering proposal. Unfortunately, they have yet to produce one," he said. "We’re not going to do their homework for them. It is Republicans’ responsibility to respond with a counter-offer – not a hint dropped during a Wall Street Journal interview or a Sunday talk show, but a real offer."
In fact, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a Republican counter-proposal shortly after Reid spoke.