Entries in Senate Majority Leader (7)


Proposed Gun Control Legislation Includes Background Checks

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will move forward with Senate Democrats’ gun control legislation, a move designed to set the Senate up to start working on the controversial legislation when they return from recess on April 8.

The bill will include a proposal for universal background checks, a controversial measure that faces an uphill climb in the Senate.

Democratic leadership aides say Reid is still leaving the door open to replace the language on background checks – as passed this month out of the Senate Judiciary Committee – with a compromise package, should one emerge over the next few weeks.

“I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed,” Reid said in a statement Thursday. “If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill. But I want to be clear: in order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks.”

Also included in the bill will be straw purchasing and trafficking provisions, aides say.

The base bill will not include the controversial ban on assault weapons, as decided this week by Senate Majoirty Leader Harry Reid.

But the assault weapons ban will get its vote, Reid promises -- as President Obama did, as an amendment to the bill. “Once debate begins, I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes, along with other amendments. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do,” Reid said in a statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Harry Reid 'Embarrassed' By Debt Vote

Reid[dot]Senate[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News Thursday that he feels “embarrassed” he argued against raising the country’s debt limit four years ago.

“Why is it right to increase our nation's dependence on foreign creditors?” Reid said on March 16, 2006. “Democrats won't be making an argument to support this legalization, which will weaken our country.”

In an interview Thursday on ABC’s Top Line with Jonathan Karl and Amy Walter, Reid said those comments were a mistake.

“I shouldn’t have done that. I’m kinda embarrassed I did. It was a political maneuver by we Democrats. The Republicans were in power --there were more of them,” Reid said. “The president voted when he was in the Senate the same way. I heard him apologize for it. We all should take a look at how we handle these issues, but that doesn’t take into consideration the numerous times, the numerous times I voted to raise the debt ceiling. The one time I tried to make a political issue of it, I wish I hadn’t."

Now, Reid said, Congress has no choice but to raise the $14.3 trillion limit to keep the country from defaulting on its debt in the coming months. Republicans in Congress are currently demanding serious deficit reduction measures in exchange for agreeing to President Obama’s request to raise the country’s $14.3 debt ceiling.

“We have no choice. As people on Wall Street are saying, as academics are saying, the International Monetary Fund, everybody in the world recognizes that this country, the greatest country in the history of the world, cannot default on its debt,” the Nevada senator said.

On Wednesday the president called for Reid, the Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi to nominate four members from each of their caucuses to participate in meetings led by Vice President Biden on reducing the nation’s soaring red ink.

But Reid told ABC’s Jonathan Karl that he will not nominate any members of the Senate’s Gang of Six to represent Senate Democrats. The Gang of Six, a bipartisan group working behind closed doors to come up with a plan to slash the country’s deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, includes Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Mark Warner of Virginia and Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

“I’m not going to put anybody who’s on the Gang of Six on that,” Reid said. “I think they’re two separate programs. They both have some merit. I met with Sen. McConnell this morning and we’re making a determination on what we’re going to do.”

Reid said he only found out on Saturday about President Obama’s high-profile debt-reduction speech on Wednesday. But he applauded the president for coming out with a plan.

“I think it’s so important the president took the lead on this,” Reid said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Harry Reid: Earmarks Will Return, Despite Obama's Vow

Photo Courtesy - Reid [dot] Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News that earmarks will return to Capitol Hill, despite President Obama's vow in Tuesday night's State of the Union to veto any spending bill that includes them.

In an interview with ABC News, Reid launched a vigorous defense of pork, the pet projects that members of Congress insert into bills to benefit their home states.

"I think it's taking power away from the legislative branch of government and giving it to the executive branch of government," Reid said of the president's plan.  "The executive branch of government is powerful enough and I think that I know more about what Nevada needs than some bureaucrat down on K Street."

When asked if he thought the president was wrong about earmarks, Reid replied, "Without any question."

He added that he "understands it's great for an applause line, but it's really not solving anything to do with the deficit.  It's only for show."

According to Reid, "Of course [earmarks] will be back."

In addition to blasting Obama's anti-pork plan, the Nevada senator also sounded less than impressed with the president's proposed five-year spending freeze on discretionary spending.

"I'm not enthusiastic about it because it's not broad enough," Reid said.  "We have to make sure that defense is included in that because certainly defense spending is getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

Reid also said the Senate will hold a vote on the House-passed health care repeal if the top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, demands one.  Reid said he would not bring the repeal to a vote, but acknowledged that the Senate GOP could use procedural means to force one.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Sets START, Government Funding Procedural Votes

Photo Courtesy - Reid [dot] Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Sunday night that the START nuclear treaty with Russia will come up for a procedural vote Tuesday morning.

The treaty will need 60 votes to make it past the procedural hurdle.  If the Senate votes Tuesday to end debate on the treaty, a final vote on the pact would come before Thursday, with 67 votes needed for ratification.

“We’ve made some real progress on this and I do hope this matter can pass,” Reid said on the Senate floor Sunday.  “We’re going to work on it as long as it takes.”

Also on Tuesday, the Senate will hold a procedural vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government through March 4.  The measure would fund the government essentially at 2010 levels, with only a $1 billion increase.  Government funding is currently set to run out at the end of Tuesday, so Congress will have to pass the new continuing resolution by the end of the day to avert a federal shutdown. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called a shutdown unlikely.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Senate Works on Taxes, Funding with Break Just Weeks Away

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to wrap up the year's work by Dec. 17, leaving lawmakers two more weeks to resolve two pressing issues -- taxes and government funding -- and possibly a slew of others.

The most pressing issue, of course, is the expiring Bush-era tax cuts.  As expected, Senate Democrats failed in their two symbolic middle-class tax cuts votes on Saturday.  The question now is no longer whether or not they will be extended for all Americans including the wealthy -- it's a given that Republicans have won out in making sure they are -- but rather what concessions Democrats will get in return.

As ABC News has reported, under a possible compromise plan that could be announced as early as Monday but likely closer to mid-week, the tax cuts would be extended for everybody including the wealthy for at least two years.  In return, the Republicans' concession to Democrats would be to extend unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless for at least one year.

The White House would also like to extend the Making Work Pay tax credit, a stimulus program that gave $400 a year to individuals -- and $800 to households -- with incomes under $75,000.  But an extension would cost $60 billion for one year, leaving it up in the air if Republicans will agree to it.

But the White House’s decision to reverse its long-standing position and give in to the GOP’s wishes not to raise taxes on the wealthy could leave Senate Democrats fuming.

In addition to taxes, the other must-do matter for Congress is to keep the government running once the latest continuing resolution ends on Dec. 18.  Democrats in the House and Senate would like to pass an omnibus spending package or another continuing resolution to fund the government until the end of fiscal year 2011, but Republicans are pushing for a short-term extension only lasting for the first few months of 2011, giving them the chance to use their control of the House to wield more power in the funding process.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


ABC News: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Projected to Win

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will continue his tenure in the Senate, according to ABC News projections, after a night in which Democrats took heavy battering from Republicans.

For Reid, who has been in public office for 40 years, the race against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, who was once virtually an unknown, was a tough one.

Fifty-five percent of Nevada voters in preliminary exit poll results said they disapproved of the job Reid is doing in the Senate, and 56 percent said they think the Senate majority leader has been in Washington too long.

At the same time, he won support on other grounds. A narrow majority of voters, 52 percent, said they prefer an insider who knows how to get things done over an outsider "who wants to shake things up." And when it came to picking the one candidate quality that mattered most to them, Nevada's voters were divided: 31 percent said they wanted change, but 29 percent said they were looking for someone who understood their needs, and nearly as many were looking for experience.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Harry Reid's Mea Culpa: 'Have We Done Enough? Of Course Not.'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As he fights for his political life in Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tells ABC News in an exclusive interview he wishes he could have done more to help his state recover from the recession.

"We have worked really, really hard," Reid told ABC News.  "But it was such a deep hole.  And I wish we could've done more, and I look back, I realize how much more we have to do."

"Have we done enough? Of course not," Reid said.

Last month, Reid told ABC News he had "nothing to do with" Nevada's economic woes.  The state has the highest unemployment rate – 14.4 percent – in the country.

"You know that I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here," Reid said last month.  "You know that I had nothing to do with these unemployment figures."

Although he now says he wishes he could have done more, Reid says he deserves credit for his work as Senate majority leader to boost the economy.

"I kept the Senate in continuous session longer than any time in the history of the country," Reid said. "We have been trying to dig our way out of this immense hole we found ourselves in, and we have a long ways to get out. Eight million jobs were lost in the last administration. We've gotten three and a half million of them back. Have we done enough? Of course not."

On Wednesday, Reid joined with Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to announce a high-speed rail project called the Desert Express that will bring passengers to and from Las Vegas and Southern California.

"Over three years, the Desert Express will bring, we don't really know how many jobs, but well over 30,000," Reid said. "The estimates are from 30 to 40 thousand. Jobs in construction, commerce, and convention business. Jobs in tourism, transportation."

And on Thursday, Secretary Lahood was once again at Reid's side announcing the completion of another big federal transportation project that Reid helped bring to Nevada: The Hoover Dam Bypass, a massive $240 million bridge adjacent to Hoover Dam.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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