New year, old fights in Congress
January 23rd, 2012
05:33 PM ET
2 years ago

New year, old fights in Congress

Washington (CNN) - If you thought Congress was stymied by politics and gridlock last year, the top Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate left little doubt the New Year would bring more of the same.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said because of the election year "things should be more tense than usual."

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Speaking on the Senate floor in the opening moments of new legislative year, Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, both said they hoped the two sides would find areas of cooperation to help the economy but immediately said the onus was on the other party to change its ways.

Invoking the founding fathers, Reid said he doubted "they envisioned the obstructionism and gridlock that ground the work of the Congress to a halt last year. Influenced by these tea party voices, Republicans forced us to waste months on routine legislation that nearly shut down the government and held hostage the full faith and credit of the United States."

"Let's be clear," McConnell responded, "the reason our economy has gotten worse and our future more uncertain has nothing to do with what Republicans in Congress won't do at some point in the future and everything to do with what this president has already done. Americans are looking for a new direction. It's one that focuses on growing the economy, not growing our nation's debt."

In the year ahead, Reid said Democrats will work to strengthen the economy and create jobs through "common sense policies" such as infrastructure spending.

"We must combat income inequality now or the rich will keep getting richer and the poor getting poorer while the middle class disappears," Reid said.

McConnell said Republicans would work to boost the economy and create jobs by pressing for "fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security."

"Americans want a government that's simpler, streamlined, and secure. But we wont' be able to achieve these things if Democrats refuse to try, if they've decided to spend the next year on show votes and legislation that's designed for the bus tours instead of bill signings."

Even as they staked out their partisan positions for the year, each took time out to express his concern for Sen. Mark Kirk, R-ILL, who is recovering from a stroke.

"I have followed it as closely as I have been able to and the doctors say that he'll recover and I'm confident that's true," Reid said.

"It is at moments like these that we're all reminded of how fragile life is, and that there are far more important things in life that politics," McConnell said. "So we send Mark and his family our prayers and our wishes for a speedy recovery."

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    “New year, Old fights in congress” nice headline CNN

    Answer congress = zero when its come to creativeness or new Ideas

    January 23, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Let's be clear," McConnell responded, "the reason our economy has gotten worse and our future more uncertain has nothing to do with what Republicans in Congress won't do ....... "
    --------------
    When Obama took office we were in the midst of the worst recession since The Great Depression. We were losing 700,000 jobs per month, and that has turned into nearly two years of consecutive month to month jobs growth in the private sector. The DOW had dipped below 7000, and that has recovered to a solid 12,000+. Unemployment was at 7.8% the week that Obama took the oath of office, peaked at 10.2%, and has steadily decreased by fits and starts for the past 30 months and is now hovering around 8.4%.

    Does anyone know what conservatives really mean when they say that the economy has gotten worse?

    January 23, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    McConnell said Republicans would work to boost the economy and create jobs by pressing for "fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security.
    ============================================

    Hey Mumbles. Here's some history regarding your 3 "points"....wrong. wrong, and wrong. Trying the same old tired talking points when everyone (except you and the sheep) know they will not work is so tiresome is beyond belief

    January 23, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. Keith in Austin

    America longs for a President that LEADS by sitting down, rolling up his sleeves and WORKING in a bi-partisan fashion! In contrast, we're stuck with an elite egotist that is dead-set on changing America based on a misguided Saul Alinsky blueprint!

    January 23, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Hammerer

    If you are really feedup with the games in Washington vote against every person in congress not and replace them with new blood. If you vote for the same old candidate you have no right to complain.

    January 23, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    But ................ Cantor and Boehner and a lot of others SAID they wanted the tax cuts for a WHOLE YEAR.

    January 23, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. BeverlyNC

    Congress should just recess until after the election. No work, no bills, nothing of substance has happened in 2 years with Republicans obstruction of every single piece of legislation and setting a record for the number of filibusters in the Senate. When you have the Senate Republican Leader McConnell saying his "sole goal is to destroy Obama", do you really think anything to help the American People is going to get passed?

    January 23, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It would be nice to see everyone put their goals out in public and hope that they would talk about the possibility of agreements. We send people to Congress to work on our behalf. It would be nice if they actually sat down to do that.

    January 23, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |