"I hope the president will become engaged,” McCain, R-Ariz., said on CBS' “Face the Nation.” "Maybe we need to get Joe Biden out of the witness protection program.”
Many Democrats, including Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have grumbled that Biden gave away too much during previous budget negotiations with Republicans. The vice president has been far less involved in this latest round of talks.
Democrats have taken a hard-line stance in recent days, essentially demanding that across-the-board budget cuts -- known as sequestration -- be reduced in exchange for funding the government and raising the debt ceiling.
McCain said Obama needed to follow his Democratic predecessor's lead and get more involved in working out a solution to chronic fiscal feuds. President Clinton was heavily involved in reaching a deal to end the last government shutdown 17 years ago, he noted.
“I'm very disappointed the president of the United States has not played a more active role in this," McCain said.