President Obama has handed over the reins of leadership on government funding and the debt limit to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Reid is now fully in charge of his party’s negotiating strategy, a significant change from past showdowns with Republicans.
He has taken the initiative from Obama, who played the principal role in the 2011 debt-limit talks and New Year’s fiscal cliff deal. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill are relieved by the switch.
The majority leader has brought a more pugnacious style to the debate, bashing House conservatives as “anarchists” and mocking the “Banana Republican mindset.”
“There’s no question, Reid is now the quarterback,” said a Senate Democratic aide.
That became clear when Reid persuaded Obama last month to abandon an effort to set up a bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders before government funding expired.
“Reid has put himself in charge of this whole thing and Obama is a non-player,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said.