WASHINGTON — Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi faulted Republicans Friday for sending Congress home for the holiday without having struck a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
“The real bottom line is the American people are working today, and where is the Congress?” she lamented at a press conference Friday afternoon.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday morning that he would keep Congress in session through the weekend until a deal was reached.
“We do not intend to send members home after this vote [on Plan B]” he said. “We want to stay here. We want to avoid the fiscal cliff from happening.”
But Republican leaders sent Congress home after Speaker of the House John Boehner’s Plan B collapsed late Thursday night, when it became clear that there were not sufficient Republican votes to pass it.
Pelosi slammed Republicans for a lack of follow through.
“Every time we are close to the solution, whether it was a year and a half ago in the summer, or right now, Republicans walk away,” she said. “When we thought we were close this week, Republicans decided to follow another path, a path that led them over the cliff, a route in which they even did not have the votes.”
Rep. Steve Israel, the outgoing chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Republicans had “abdicated their responsibility to get this done.”
Pelosi nonetheless expressed optimism that a deal could still be reached.
“That was then,” she said. “This is now. Let’s go back to the negotiating table because we have no right to walk out the doors of Congress with no clear path to resolution to this challenge.”