Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls Boehner's Plan B “the mother of all debacles” during fiscal cliff arguments


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid holds a news conference about the payroll tax cut. The House Republicans have rejected the measure, opting for a conference with the Senate instead.


Chip Somodevilla

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, went toe to toe over measures to address the fiscal cliff during a Thursday session on the Senate floor.

In comments broadcast on C-Span, Reid was unabashed in his blame of Republicans for holding up solutions to avoid falling off the so-called "fiscal cliff," which — without further action — will be marked by increases in taxes and cuts to spending.

More from GlobalPost: The fiscal cliff, explained

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, contended that "Republicans have bent over backwards" during negotiations with Democrats, Business Insider reported.

Reid reserved special criticism for House Speaker John Boehner, calling his proposed "Plan B," which fizzled last week after failing to earn enough support from Republicans, “the mother of all debacles.”

Reid said that Boehner “can’t take yes for an answer," adding: “He backed off even his own proposal.”

Earlier in the day, Reid had accused Boehner of operating the House of Representatives like a "dictatorship."

Reid went on to claim that Grover Norquist — the conservative and powerful president of Americans for Tax Reform — and "his boys" stood in the way of sincere bipartisan efforts on the part of Democrats.

"We can't get past Grover Norquist," Reid said.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, also taking a turn on the floor, appealed to Boehner to "bring back the House of Representatives" from their holiday vacation in order to strike a deal before the end of the year, pointing out that President Barack Obama returned early from his Christmas vacation in order to be present for talks on the fiscal cliff.