By Russell Berman - 03/09/11 04:29 PM EST
House Republicans escalated pressure on President Obama to become directly involved in the budget debate roiling Capitol Hill, criticizing the White House for allowing a vacuum of leadership on the issue.
“Where is the president?” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) asked in a press conference Wednesday morning, repeating the refrain five times in the 10-minute briefing.
“We’re saying, ‘C’mon, let’s see some leadership,’” Cantor said. “We are ready to talk. We are ready to listen.”
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) mocked the White House for naming Biden to lead negotiations days before he departed Washington for a five-day trip to Finland, Moldova and Russia. “The vice president’s not even in the country,” McCarthy said. He noted that the White House press secretary refused to identify who was negotiating for the administration in Biden’s absence, and he gleefully recited examples of Democratic division on the proposed spending cuts.
Neither Cantor nor McCarthy indicated what the next step in the stalemate would be, but both parties are waiting for the Senate to dispense with the two proposals to clear the way for negotiations to heat up in earnest.