Reid raises stakes for Congress
December 23rd, 2010
11:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Reid raises stakes for Congress

(CNN) - In a rare interview, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid previewed the next Congressional session and hyped a productive lame-duck session that included a bipartisan tax deal, the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, passage of the New START and a bill to provide medical care to rescue workers sickened from their work at ground zero.

"I think you saw in this very short congested work period we had is Democrats and Republicans were working together," the top Senate Democrat said Wednesday on CNN's "John King, USA." "We accomplished a lot of stuff and we did it because we worked together."

Reid said the midterm elections, in which Democrats suffered significant electoral setbacks, proved the American people wanted "us to work together." However, Reid was noticeably absent from negotiations between the White House and members of Congress that resulted in an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

The four-term senator from Nevada said although he was invited to many meetings, it was his decision to stay out of the negotiations.

"I was not iced out," Reid told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "I made a decision that these negotiations were something that I thought the president should do on his own. I did not want to go to my caucus and tell the caucus I'd agreed to these tax cuts for rich people."

However, Reid said he's satisfied with the ultimate package.

"The president did a good job. He did a good job without me," Reid said.

When the Senate reconvenes in January the House will be under Republican control and there will be five fewer Democratic Senators, a reality that has the potential to create more legislative gridlock. But Reid said he's looking forward to working with Republicans to pass appropriation bills, address energy legislation and tackle comprehensive immigration reform.

"I think that we're going to be obligated to make sure that (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell believes he's part of the process," Reid said. "Divided government does not mean you can't get things done. Legislation is the art of compromise. And when you have divide government, that's when you have to compromise."

Filed under: Congress • Harry Reid • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Perhaps the tone and tenor of the commentary shoudl be noted:

    Reid: "We accomplished a lot of stuff and we did it because we worked together"

    GOP: "Rammed through...irresponsible...disrespecting krischun holy time...socialism...destroying our military...grumble grumble excuses demogoguery anger fear and misrepresentations for political leverage and cover etc etc etc"

    BTW, the Dems broke a record for the number of filibusters they broke over the past 2 years. I suppose we should be thanking the GOP for making that possible?

    December 23, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Name king

    Reid has done a great job juggling these events over the past two years him polosie and Obama had done greatly, take in the emense situation they were under. I hope the repugs will put away their extreme view about making this president a one term president and join the struggle to make America great again.

    December 23, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Grog in Ohio

    Well... now that we know that tax cuts for the wealthy is the Holy Grail of Republicanism, at the expense of the middle class, secondary to the national debt, to relief for the unemployed, to sick 9/11 first responders and apparently even national security from nuclear terrorism, negotiating with them just got a lot easier. Give 'em tax cuts for fat cats and they'll concede everything else.

    December 23, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Rich

    He crammed a years worth of work in two weeks. It was like a high school kid studying for finals at the last minute. Embarrassing at best and a majority of what they crammed in was either a last minute deal because they would lose the opportunity to do so or as a diversion to make opponents look bad. Reid is a dishonest and unethical at best,

    December 23, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Four and The Door

    I have to agree with everything Harry Reid said in this article. The strong contributing factor for the productive Lame Duck session was Obama finally reaching across the aisle to include Republicans in the process. I hope this is the way it works for the next 2 years just as I'm sure the next administration will include Democrats in their legislation work.

    December 23, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. more lies from HUSSENI obama

    We The People shall raise the bar and remove idiots like you from the destruction of America. We The People shall overcome and put you where you belong, out of work and on the side of the road with you illegal friends, 2012 you will be removed and sent packing.

    December 23, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. LouAz

    Seems the Senate has decided to work the last two weeks of every two year period. They should be paid accordingly.

    December 23, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. stevegee

    Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House, not a creature was stirring except lame ducks getting soused. The bills were hung by Pelosi with care, in hopes that the leftist votes would be there. The citizens were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of Tea Parties danced in their heads. And Obama in his 'kerchief, and Michelle in her cap, had just settled their brains for a short Hawaiian nap. When out on the Internet there arose such a clatter, I sprang to my PC to see what was the matter. Away to Windows I flew like a flash, tore open the browser and shouted “not so fast.”

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen law gave the luster of tyranny to objects below. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight Republican dears.

    With a little tan driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it's John Boehner carrying a big stick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name! "Now Cantor! now, Ryan! now, Bachmann and Scott! On, Runyan! On, Meehan! on, on Herrera and Noem! To the top of the steps! to the top of the Hill! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!" But I heard them exclaim, ‘ere they drove out of sight, "Happy Days ahead for all, and to all a good fight!"

    December 23, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Compare and contrast:

    Dems = Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) coming in to vote to ratify the START Treaty two days after prostate cancer surgery.

    Repubs = Whining about having to work over Christmas break, including voting on the START treaty which the previous Republican Secretaries of State (and anyone with half a brain) have stated is essential to our national security.

    Think I'll stick with the Dems ...

    December 23, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Julie C

    The righties seem to be wearing their tighties because of all that got done.; they just hate it when Obama is successful because it flies in the face of their number one agenda item, to see him fail. Goes to show what leadership can do when it's well executed, thanks Obama! Of course, the GOP will spin it to their credit, but we all know they only worked 2 weeks this year. Shame on them! They held the tax bill hostage and would only support it if the wealthy got their breaks. Those of us in the middle class will remember who they support and it isn't us; never has been.

    December 23, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Phil in KC

    They passed legislation because the Democrats finally flexed their muscles and made things happen. As far as the Republicans are concerned, compromise means "do it my way". Next year, the Repubs are going to expect the Democrats to bend over and say, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?". I'm hoping they don't. They still have a majority in the Senate and they still occupy the White House. I'm hoping they act like it.

    December 23, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. AZ DEM

    They accomplished so much because, yes Obama reached across the aisle to Republicans but he had done that over the lat two years the only difference this time is that he allowed them to have what the wanted; tax cuts extended even for the wealthiest Americans. He reached out to Republicans over healthcare, financial reform, and pretty much everything else but the Republicans solution in those situations was to do NOTHING. Scrap the plans and start from scratch on THEIR ideas only. Obama and the Democrats had the numbers to disregard them and they did. After the midterms Obama decided to concede the tax cuts and got pretty much all he wanted EXCEPT the Dream Act.

    In the next two years watch as the Republicans and Obama fight about the funding of the gov't and Obama and the Democrats will push for the Dream act once again with I'm sure plenty of Republican opposition. It'l be interesting to see how this plays out but despite what many Republicans think THEY ARE NOT POPULAR with the people and if they allow the gov't to shut down and fight tooth and nail against immigration reform Obama will be sitting pretty nicely into 2016. MARK MY WORDS

    December 23, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. PalmReader

    For as much as CNN has decided to adopt the TeaParty as it's own, I doubt even the most stringent of coverage will temper the abysmal failure of We The People candidates once they are called upon to put their campaign rhetoric into actual votes.

    December 23, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    AZ DEM
    They accomplished so much because, yes Obama reached across the aisle to Republicans but he had done that over the lat two years the only difference this time is that he allowed them to have what the wanted; tax cuts extended even for the wealthiest Americans.
    Republicans fought to get tax cuts for all Americans for the obvious reason ( and even Larry Summers is now totally on board with ) that this is the best thing the government can do to help the economy grow right now. There are more millionaires making less than $250,000 in America so that argument is invalid. At the same time $250,000 is far from wealthy. These are working people and these people create jobs. Raising their taxes would quickly increase unemployment and Obama knows that. He made the correct decision but told his liberal followers that it was really really tough and he didn't want to do it. Apparently a bunch of you believed that.

    December 23, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |