Republicans are loath to engage in the same kind of behind-the-scenes talks going forward because the most conservative members of the GOP rank-and-file see such private leadership klatches as ways for leadership to sell out. Their prime example is the fiscal cliff deal struck between Vice President Joe Biden and Senator McConnell, in which many Republicans were compelled to choke down voting for the first tax increase in nearly two decades.
“Following the New Year’s Eve fiscal cliff negotiations, Americans demanded that Washington get serious about spending,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R) of Kansas before Friday's meeting. “Instead, the White House is calling for yet another 11th-hour, closed-door meeting just like the ones that got us into this mess.
"Americans are tired of backroom deals that don’t address the true problem – spending – and they are ready for tough decisions," he added. "What will it take for Congress and the president to put an end to this crisis-to-crisis mode of governing?”
As McConnell's comments suggest, Republican leaders have heard the message loud and clear.