House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is joining a growing number of Republicans trying to add more spending cuts to the last-minute fiscal cliff deal and send it back to the Senate, joked that Senators may have been drunk when they passed the measure in the early hours of Jan 1.
Responding to a question on CNN’s The Situation Room about why fiscal hawks like Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) supported the measure in the Senate, Issa implied that the 89 senators voted for the compromise because of the late night partying in celebration of the New Year. Pressed by host Wolf Blitzer for clarification, Issa said that he was just “having a little fun” with his answer:
BLITZER: All of those 89, including all of those conservative Republicans, including Pat Toomey and others, they were wrong?
ISSA: You know, Wolf, frankly I can’t account for what happens after midnight and all of that partying and revelry and drinking that goes on on New Years Eve at 2:00 in the morning. What I can tell you is they did half of a bill. The half of the bill certainly is going to be popular in the way of holding down taxes but the other half is there’s no spending reductions…. In other words, $4 trillion will be added to the debt over ten years with this tax cut unless we do some spending cuts to help offset it. Right now the president is still in a spending mood. We need to get him in a savings mood.
BLITZER: I just want to clarify one point, you said it was after the new year’s and they were partying. Are you suggesting that Mitch McConnell and your fellow Republicans in the Senate they were a little bit drunk when they voted on this last night?
ISSA: Of course not. I was having a little fun with you, Wolf. The fact is, it was after midnight. It was a piece of legislation intended to be passable, not necessarily to be right.
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) made a similar comment to reporters, saying, “Our sense…was that a number of the [Senate] Republicans who voted for it must have been drunk.”
Following a Tuesday afternoon GOP conference meeting, House Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), are publicly opposing the Senate-passed measure. Members are reportedly working on adding an amendment that would reduce spending. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has vowed to block any further changes to the bill, leaving Boehner with the options of: 1) putting the Senate-passed bill to a House vote (and see it pass with Democratic votes and overwhelming Republican opposition) or 2) adding spending cuts that “they know Democrats can’t live with,” passing the revised bill through the House with little if any Democratic support, and see it go nowhere the Senate — sending the nation over the cliff.
The House will vote on the Senate bill as written, without a spending amendment, at around 11:00 PM. The measure is expected to pass, at which point it will go to President Obama for his signature.