At least one Democratic lawmaker is not as optimistic as President Obama that his party can compromise with Republicans on key pieces of legislation next year.
With a large slate of newly elected Republican lawmakers, many of whom rode in to Washington, D.C., with Tea Party support, bipartisan compromise won't be as easy to accomplish as it was during the lame-duck session of Congress, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth said.
Yarmuth's views appear to contrast those of the president, who used a Wednesday press conference to tout a series of lame-duck legislative victories as a model for bipartisan compromise when Republicans control the House next year.
"We are not doomed to endless gridlock," he said.
Lawmakers in Washington did manage to accomplish a good deal during the final weeks of the 111th Congress, Yarmuth said, but the capstone of the lame-duck — the tax-cut deal Obama brokered with Senate Republicans — had serious flaws.
Yarmuth, who voted against the tax deal, said, "It's pretty amazing what's happened in the last couple weeks."
But he did add: "You could also look at it from the perspective of what happened was the American people paid a huge price that we did make.
"I mean, basically, we were held up for about $90 million over the next two years for tax cuts for very wealthy Americans in order to get this roadblock overcome," he said. "So, I hope that the spirit of accomplishment can carry forward. I'm not particularly optimistic, though."
In explaining his rationale, Yarmuth said the 2010 midterm elections, "Tended to bring in a lot of very, very extreme members" who are "Tea Party people."
The congressman said the Senate might have a less rancorous atmosphere with a narrower Democratic majority, but the House might be a lost cause.
"I think you're actually going to see a deeper division in the House," he said.