Harry Reid blames tea party for lack of fiscal cliff deal

“The American people want us to forge a balanced approach that combines smart cuts with asking millionaires to pay their fair share,” Reid said. “Sixty percent of Americans support asking millionaires to pay slightly more.”

“Many, many Republicans feel the same way,” he added. “The only Republicans who feel differently are those who work in this building.” (RELATED VIDEO: Pelosi says Republicans are ‘hostage-taking’ on fiscal cliff)

“We can’t let these negotiations be dictated by the tea party. Our guiding principle should be the views of the vast majority of the American people. The math is clear. The only way to accomplish these things is to allow the rates to go up on the top two percent of taxpayers. We’re not going to twist ourselves into contortions to appease a vocal minority in the tea party. As Sen. McCaskill said Sunday on TV, Speaker Boehner has got to decide: Is it his speakership that’s more important, or the country?”

Reid also criticized the proposal for not including specific increases in revenue — a flaw he said the plan shared with the proposals put forward in the past by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” in the Senate and the 12-member “Super Committee.”

A line in Reid’s prepared remarks — which he left on the podium after walking off — stated that “Senator DeMint lost no time in condemning the proposal.” But the line was crossed out, and Reid did not use it.

The Senate majority leader further faulted the tea party for the failure of the Senate to ratify the The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities on Tuesday morning; it required a two-thirds majority for ratification, but was shot down by a narrow margin of 61 votes to 38.

The treaty is modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain was among the bill’s most vocal supporters, along with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

“In the minds of the tea party– they should feel good that the tea party folks defeated this treaty, and in effect really hurt the disabled community and the veteran community here in America,” Reid said.

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