Earlier this month, President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top liberals were insisting they'd love to talk about critical issues including health care and the national debt. But well, it was just impossible for them to negotiate until conservatives in Congress passed a "clean" federal spending bill, they added.
Well, Congress has obliged. Both a "clean" spending bill and an increase in the national debt limit have been approved. The so-called government "shutdown" is over. Obama's administration is free to continue spending and borrowing as if there's no tomorrow.
So what about those talks? That, in essence, is what U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., is asking. On Wednesday, McKinley took to the House floor to ask the president and Senate liberals to sit down with conservatives and discuss Obamacare, spending reductions, tax relief and regulatory reform.
Tens of millions of Americans are suffering from an economy that, in many respects, has not been this bad in decades. As McKinley pointed out, few new jobs are being created to replace those lost during the recession. When companies do hire, they often want only part-time workers.
In addition, Obamacare is proving to be a more critical threat to the well-being of many people than its worst critics warned just a couple of years ago.
McKinley and other conservatives in Congress did their part to get the discussion going. More than a week ago, they allowed passage of the "clean" spending bill and debt ceiling increase.
After hearing pledges by Obama and Reid during the shutdown, one might have expected them to begin meeting immediately with conservative leaders to hash out policy on various issues. But no. Liberal leaders have been mum on such talks.
Time is limited, however. Spending authorization approved last week expires Jan. 15. The debt ceiling increase comes up again Feb. 7.
Like many conservatives, McKinley had been reluctant to vote in favor of the two measures. But, as he explained this week, he did so based on Obama's "promise to address the critical drivers of our economy..."
Will Obama and Reid keep their promises? It appears they do not intend to do so. More likely is a plan that, if another budget impasse occurs in early January, the two ultra-liberals will go back to insisting they'd love to talk - but can't do so until Congress passes a new spending authorization.
If that occurs, it will become plain to reasonable Americans that Obama, Reid and company were lying all along. At that point, the onus for another government "shutdown," if it occurs, will be squarely on the liberals' backs.