By Russell Berman - 08/01/12 09:36 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not take kindly to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) offer to reconvene the House if the Senate passed legislation averting the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
In a lengthy letter of response, Reid (D-Nev.) chastised the House Republican majority for “wast[ing]” the year on "empty, political show votes, while ignoring major job-creating legislation passed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis.”
Reid replied by telling the House to follow the Senate in passing a bill to keep tax rates in place for the middle class – legislation the House is set to reject later Wednesday.
“I urge you to show Americans you are still capable of accomplishing something of utility by passing the only bill to avoid the fiscal cliff for middle class families with a chance of being signed into law: the Senate’s middle-class tax cut,” Reid wrote.
He added: “If the House is prepared to ask millionaires and billionaires to contribute their fair share, the Senate is prepared to remain in session as long as necessary to approve an agreement on a balanced deficit reduction package. Of course, I understand that such an agreement is unlikely in the short term given the refusal of House Republicans to work on a bipartisan basis to create jobs or pass any substantive legislation that has a chance of becoming law.”
The likeliest outcome is that despite Wednesday’s rhetorical volley, both the House and Senate will leave for a five-week recess as scheduled at the end of this week. Any agreement to avert the fiscal cliff is not expected before the November elections.