ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
Moments before being summoned to the White House this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declared that his bill is still “the only game in town,” even has it was being voted down by the House of Representatives.
“We have until midnight tonight,” Reid said. “If my Republican colleagues, acting in good faith, come to me with a proposal that is what we will do.”
Reid dismissed a letter Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and 43 Senate Republicans sent him today declaring their opposition to his bill.
In it they state that Reid’s plan “completely fails to address our current fiscal imbalance and lacks any serious effort to ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.”
“Most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur,” the letter says. “These savings are the sort of widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism about our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges.”
Reid noted that “a number” of those people who signed the letter of opposition have been in contact with him, indicating they’d be open to compromise.
“I don’t know what the 43 letter was meant to be, whether to stall things, I really don’t understand,” Reid said brushing off the Republican’s letter. “The fact is we have 43 people on this letter, Republicans, who a number of them have already agreed to work with us. Whether it bears fruit we will see.”
Surrounded by a group of what he called the “real Americans” that will be affected by Congress’ action (or inaction) to raise the debt ceiling along with the majority of his Democratic caucus, Reid expressed his frustration over Republicans refusing to compromise.
Asked why he and McConnell cannot sit down when they’re working under the same roof, Reid quipped back, “I have a little trouble understanding that myself.”
“We can’t do this alone; we need Republicans to join us,” he said.