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Sheila Jackson Lee: Biden Emphasizes History To Dems

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SHEILA JACKSON LEE
Vice President Joe Biden arrives Jan. 1 for a House Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss the legislation that will blunt the effects of the "fiscal cliff" before a rare New Year's Day session in Washington, D.C. Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) negotiated the deal that produced The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which passed the Senate after midnight on New Year's Day. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images | Getty Images

Ducking out of the closed-door meeting of Democrats to attend another event, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said that Vice President Joe Biden had made a pitch based on "historical perspective."

He explained that he had taken a central role in the final deal because, as president of the Senate and a former long-time member there, he was in the best position to deal with GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell -- and President Barack Obama had realized that and asked the Veep to take the lead.

Biden went through the long history of GOP refusals to vote for income-tax rate hikes -- a history that goes back to 1993, long before the Tea Party was a gleam in Grover Norquist's eye. Lee agreed that it was a victory of sorts for the president to get the Republicans to move on that issue, however modestly.

Biden, according to Lee, also stressed that the debt "crisis" was largely of the GOP's making because of profligate spending in the Bush II Years. If the Democrats now have to agree to spending cuts, it will be up to the GOP to offer up its pet categories of spending -- defense in particular -- for new limits.

Lee, a staunch liberal, said that she was undecided about how to vote -- out of concern that the deal would lead to a "hostage taking" two months from now when spending cuts are negotiated in the midst of another manufactured "crisis" -- the one over raising the debt ceiling. She said that she was concerned that a latter deal would include restrictive changes in how cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for Social Security; and that it would cut programs such as funding for housing and homeless shelters.

"I haven't decided -- but I am listening," she said.

Lee is apparently worried that Biden might have made promises to McConnell on those items.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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