Missing from the signing ceremony were top Democratic leaders, the Speaker of the House (Until January when John Boehner is expected to take the gavel), second in command for the House, Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
President Barack Obama celebrated the spirit of compromise Friday as he signed a controversial $858 billion tax cut and unemployment insurance extension into law — but warned that bipartisan comity could be fleeting.
The bill, the result of a deal Obama cut with Senate Republicans over the objections of many Democrats, was a major victory for a White House that spent much of the past two years battling a unified GOP on the stimulus and health care reform.
"We are here with some good news for the American people this holiday season," Obama told about 150 people, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), gathered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Noticeably absent were Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who were all cut out of initial negotiations between Obama’s staff and McConnell.
The first truly bipartisan piece of legislation, which captured support from both sides of the aisle while neither got all they wanted and both gave up some of what they wanted and top Democratic leaders made themselves even more irrelevant with their noticeable public absence.