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Reid Lauds Stimulus Package in Speech to Nevada Legislature

Speaking before a joint session of the Nevada state legislature Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lauded the recently enacted $787 billion economic stimulus package and trumpeted a new era of leadership in Washington, D.C., that will benefit the Silver State.

Reid, who served one term in the Nevada state Assembly and presided over the state Senate for four years as lieutenant governor, told state lawmakers that the bill will add 34,000 new jobs and $200 million in transportation funding to the state. As he hailed the package, signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Reid was careful to underscore Congress’ role in shaping the legislation.

“Despite our affection for President Obama and the strong Democratic majorities in Congress, we did not simply rubber-stamp the president’s plan,” Reid said, noting the “serious and vigorous debate” between Democrats and Republicans leading up to the bill’s passage last week.

Reid is up for re-election next year, and his speech Wednesday, laced with statistics on how the stimulus package will aid Nevada’s suffering economy, is also a response to National Republican Senatorial Committee ads criticizing the Majority Leader’s support of the bill.

The stimulus package “provides immediate assistance to Nevadans who are struggling to pay the bills, find a job and keep their heads above water,” Reid told state lawmakers, citing new unemployment benefits and worker training programs.

He added that the bill “has broad bipartisan support from Republican governors from California to Florida and many states in between.” He called out Republican Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine for voting for the stimulus bill and proclaimed a new era of bipartisanship in Washington.

“No one expects Democrats and Republicans to suddenly agree on everything, but we have been engaging in serious pursuit of common ground,” he said.

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