'Without question': Reid says more revenue needed to fix budget problems
February 3rd, 2013
11:24 AM ET
9 years ago

'Without question': Reid says more revenue needed to fix budget problems

(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for more revenue Sunday as a solution for the nation's budgetary problems.

The Senate's top Democrat pointed to measures that Republicans previously supported, such as closing tax loopholes and eliminating oil subsidies, as potential options.

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"We need to keep our eye on the prize and continue doing something about spending, but I think that what we need to do is do some of the things that Mitt Romney talked about. He said there's some low-hanging fruit; there are a lot of tax loopholes that should be closed. I agree with him. We haven't done that," Reid said on ABC's "This Week."

His comments come after Republicans have said they've compromised enough on taxes and are done with the revenue side of the budget equation, saying the upcoming fiscal battles should be focused on how to limit spending instead. Congress approved a bill this year that raised taxes on the very wealthy.

"The moment that (Obama) and virtually every elected Democrat in Washington signed off on the terms of the current arrangement, it was the last word on taxes. That debate is over," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an op-ed earlier in early January, shortly after the fiscal cliff bill passed.

But Reid said "the American people are on our side."

"The American people don't believe in these austere things. We believe that the rich should contribute. We believe we should fill those tax loopholes, get rid of them, I should say. And that's where we need to go," he said.

He added that "without question," Congress will have to agree on new sources of revenue in order to avert the sequester, a series of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to begin in about a month if lawmakers fail to act.

His comments foreshadow what's expected to be more Washington gridlock, as Republicans and Democrats fight to resolve the sequester issue and struggle over looming votes on funding the government and raising the debt ceiling later this year.

On "This Week," Reid gave his take on the challenges facing the 113th Congress, including overhauling immigration laws and gun control.

Both issues have emerged as priorities for Senate Democrats. "I definitely want to do something with immigration for sure and I want to get something done on guns," Reid said in the interview.

Reid is a longtime supporter of gun rights, with ties to the National Rifle Association, but he has alluded to a change in his attitude toward gun control in the aftermath of last year's mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado. His changing stance has left some wondering what position he will take on gun control legislation if it comes up for a vote in the Senate.

Asked whether he would vote for a ban on assault weapons - a ban he has voted against in the past - the majority leader said previous measures "didn't make sense." However, referring to Newtown, he said "to see those little babies on the ground - one little girl, 5 years old, shot more than ten times - of course that breaks your heart, and I am willing to take a look at it."

While his stance on the assault weapons ban remains unclear, Reid said he would support additional background checks and anti-trafficking regulations.

He also expects the Senate Judiciary Committee to produce a gun control bill following regular procedure, to which senators would be able to bring up amendments.

Reid took a stronger stance on revamping immigration laws in the interview, saying that comprehensive reform would have to include increased border security as well as a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants. Earlier this week, a group of bipartisan senators outlined its own framework for a comprehensive plan that includes similar proposals.

Reid criticized some Republicans for "looking for excuses" not to vote for reform, for instance, insisting that the bill exclude the families of gay immigrants in family preference cases.

"If we have gay folks in this country who have children or they come from some other place, they should be protected, just like any other child," Reid said.

Reid also spoke of the demographic changes he's seen in his home state of Nevada in recent decades. "I've seen the (supporters of the DREAM Act) come to me and explain to me, 'We're Americans. We've known, we know no other country.' My heart says we have to do this," he said.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Harry Reid • Senate
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. nothing new here

    We need compromise, and good sensible solutions to the nation's troubles.
    Background checks should be a must. If a person has to undergo a background check for employment, then that person should undergo a background check to purchase a gun. Either do it all the way, or no way at all.
    And decrease all the tax loopholes, there is no reason for all these loopholes. Exeryone should pay a fair share, and that includes churches and non-profits. Don't want to pay taxes? Then find another country to perform church/community services in. No more excuses.

    February 3, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Larry L

    Watch how hard the Republicans defend tax loopholes for the uber-rich... They know their corporate sugar-daddies will continue to support them and keep those contributions rolling in. No kiss required... just put the money on the nightstand when you leave...

    February 3, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Ray C.

    More taxes will solve all probelms. Spoken like a true politician. He is right we do need more money to pay for 20 million illegals as well as 47 million Americans already on food stamps.

    February 3, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. cwade

    I didn't see anything about new taxes. I did see him say we should close loop holes and add new revenue (which could mean drilling, beefing up trade, ect). So, Ray C., spoken like a true politician, you put words in peoples mouths.

    February 3, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. rla

    OK Harry- tell us howthe debt will be solved by this as you take my hard earned money to buy the votes of the low information voters you call a base! NO THINKS-– Get DC squared awary and OH YES PASS A BUDGET YOU DOLT!

    February 3, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    With people like John McCain Republicans will never agree on anything because they are still stuck in the past while McCain spends his time using the Hagel confirmation hearings to seek revenge against Hagel for not supporting his run for president. Repugs better wake up, 2016 is just around the corner.

    February 3, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Democrats view no spending cut only tax hike
    Republicans view no tax hike only spending cut
    Americans view more investment creates more jobs and more revenue
    Republicans view investments mean spending that is wrong

    February 3, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Indeigrl

    Democrats can't get enough revenue. Uncle Sam makes 40k per year. He owes $130k on credit cards. He will charge another 30k this year, 40k next year, and so on. He wanted to be re elected so he told his followers that all he has to do is hit his rich Uncle for another 3k per year and the problem is solved. His followers are mathematically challenged, 25th in the world in math, and they believed Uncle Sam, re elected him. He immediately hit his rich uncle for 2k, then charged another $5k on our maxed out credit card.
    Econ 101 Final:
    Uncle Sam has
    A. A revenue problem
    B A spending problem

    February 3, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    LIberals never get over their hunger for other people's money. When Harry finally milks the "rich" for all the wealth they have, then what? When the business owners are all fleeced, who does the hiring?

    February 3, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Bob, Fort Worth

    Harry, The money's there. All Congress and the president have to do is prioritize spending. Less foreign aid for nation building. Cut out anything for aid to illegal immigrants. Stop coddling convicts in prison and put them back to work making small stones out of big ones or make them grow their own food. No more educational benefits or supplying lawyers once their convictions are held after one appeal. Open up the Keystone Pipeline and allow more offshore drilling. Cut out funding for NASA until the debt is halved, no more NEA grants and keep Holder on a short lease from suing states that passed their own bills for voter ID cards, immigration, death penalty, etc. Finally cut the size of the government and make all government employees including all three branches to participate in a 401k type plan. Federal pensions are a budget buster.

    February 3, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. confused

    Slash Welfare. Restrict it to a maximum of 2 years per SSN, & to households with less then 5 kids. if you cant support them, stop having them. It is called responsibility. Close the legs, keep it in your pants, get snipped/clipped, however. Also, reduce foreign aid. i mean, most of the medicine and food goes to warlords anyways, atleast thats what they say.

    February 3, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. jpmichigan

    What budget problems? The Democratic Senate hasn't submitted a budget for over three years. Reason being, there would be limits of how much to spend with an ACTUAL BUDGET. Fool me once same on me, TRY to fool me twice same on you, Mr. Reid and the Democratic Senate. Do your jobs, submit and pass a budget!!!!!!

    February 3, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. eagerliving

    Good luck with that, Reid. That's what the Republicans wanted to do to begin with, but you said no. You can't get them to agree to increases and then come back and expect them to give you loophole closing, too.

    February 3, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |